(Reuters) - Leading Peruvian football figures fear their national team, yet to name a coach, could be in for a hiding when they play at Wembley as part of England’s build-up to this year’s World Cup finals.
Peru, without a coach since Uruguayan Sergio Markarian quit after their unsuccessful South American World Cup qualifying campaign, face Brazil-bound England at Wembley on May 30.
Former Newcastle United and Aston Villa midfielder Nolberto Solano is one of three candidates to take charge of Peru’s Under-20 team and fill in as senior coach for the England friendly, the daily El Comercio (www.elcomercio.pe) reported.
Solano told the paper it would be a privilege for him to take charge of the team and that it was good for Peru to play top rivals despite the timing of the fixture.
“There could be a very hard result, but whoever is coach will benefit (from the experience),” Solano said.
“It’s strange that the English have chosen us, but I understand it’s because they want to beat us heavily to go to the World Cup with their morale high. They’ll give their all and we must try to have a decent match.”
Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro, Peru’s captain in the qualifiers, also complained about the timing and said he could not even confirm he would be available for the England match.
“Most of the players will be on holiday and it won’t be our best time to play,” Pizarro said.
“Our rivals will be in their best form because they’re going to the World Cup,” added the 35-year-old, who has been mulling over his international retirement.
England are in one of the potentially toughest groups at the World Cup with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.
Peru could also play Russia, also preparing for the World Cup, in a friendly on March 5, the website libero.pe said.
Russia are in Group H with Belgium, Algeria and South Korea.
Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Ed Osmond