FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Peru v Uruguay
By Football News
A fourth-place finish in South Africa marked the Uruguayans out as a threat in the CONMEBOL qualifying group for the 2014 tournament in Brazil, but an inconsistent campaign has left them in a perilous position going into Friday's clash.
With the top four progressing automatically, Uruguay's return of 16 points from 12 matches leaves them in fifth, and with just four games to go, the five-point gap to fourth-place Chile is a sizeable one.
Oscar Tabarez's side do have a game in hand on the Chileans, but they will also be wary of the danger lurking below them in the table.
Peru, just two points behind having played the same number of matches, can overhaul them in the table with a home win.
Recent history will provide Tabarez with a degree of comfort, with the last meeting resulting in a 4-2 victory for his men.
They boast an array of attacking talent, with Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Internacional's Diego Forlan all in the squad, readying themselves for two vital games in four days.
With matches against the top three - Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador - still to come, Uruguay could face the prospect of a play-off against AFC nations Jordan or Uzbekistan if they finish fifth.
Tabarez acknowledged the enormity of the game as the qualification process heads towards its conclusion.
"Victory will be a great result for us," the Salzburg striker said.
"If it's a draw, that benefits us. If we win, I think we will draw a significant advantage because after that there are only three games left."
Peru will look to their impressive home record for inspiration, with just one defeat from their last eight matches in Lima.
Consecutive home victories over Chile and Ecuador, in which they kept two clean sheets, boosted their qualification hopes, but defeat away to Colombia last time out left them with work to do.
European-based duo Yordy Reyna and Carlos Zambrano were the last players to join up with Sergio Markarian's squad and Reyna was quick to underline the importance of the contest.
"This game we have to win because we are playing at home," he said.
"I will contribute to the team when they need me."
Pacos de Ferreira winger Paolo Hurtado echoed those sentiments.
"The match against Uruguay will be very difficult but we will go above and beyond for the three points," he said.
"I feel great. If I play or not, that will be determined by the coach, but I always come prepared to play for Peru."