Peru to beat dour Australia to reach World Cup
Having squeaked past the United Arab Emirates in the AFC play-off, Australia must now take on Peru in the intercontinental showdown to decide which of the two will be the 31st entrants to this year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The Socceroos have been underwhelming for quite some time under unpopular head coach Graham Arnold, and will struggle against Ricardo Gareca's energetic CONMEBOL side. Read our preview here:
Check the Leckie
Arnold will be hoping for more from his faltering frontline in particular, having only been dug out by an Ajdin Hrustic deflected effort in the previous game. One solution fans are clamouring for, given the paucity of options, is to see Melbourne City's Mathew Leckie operate in a more central role. The 31 year old has mostly been deployed in a wider area in recent internationals, even as club teammate Jamie Maclaren toils up top.
Tapia it in
Los Incas warmed up for their high stakes clash in Doha with a narrow 1-0 win over New Zealand, who will also be squaring off the next day against Costa Rica for the final berth in November. Gareca's side recovered from a poor start to their qualification pool by building a very solid defence to eke out the wins needed to finish fifth on the final day, the culmination of which was achieved against Paraguay. On the pitch, Renato Tapia is the midfield general, and should be fit to earn what could be a very significant 75th cap. San Jose Earthquakes' Marcos López went off injured against the All-Whites, so the more experienced Miguel Trauco could come in at left-back.
Australia are devoid of goals and Peru simply don't concede many. That combination is a recipe for disaster from their point of view, especially when one single mistake could end their chances of a fifth straight men's World Cup. bet365 have odds of 5.50 for Peru to win 1-0 and book their second consecutive tournament.