1) Peru's outstanding manager is 59-year-old Argentinian Ricardo Gareca, a striker who played 20 matches for his country in the 1980s. Gareca was appointed in early 2015 when Peru were struggling with a world ranking around 50. He has taken them to their best-ever ranking of 11. They are currently 12th compared to their average ranking of 55.

2) Gareca was known as "The Thin One" or "The Tiger" during his playing career. Peru football official Juan Carlos Oblitas told the Guardian: "Ricardo has a positive spirit that I have seen in very few people...when you touch on a negative topic he asks you to move on from there." Gareca scored the match-drawing qualification goal against Peru which took Argentina to the 1986 finals in Mexico. He missed selection for the Maradona-led team which won the World Cup.

3) Peru finished fifth in the CONMEBOL region, with seven wins, five draws and six losses. They had a strong finish, and were unbeaten in all six qualification games this year. This will be the first time the All Whites and Los Incas have clashed.

4) Peru have been in four World Cup finals, and were part of the first tournament hosted by Uruguay in 1930 when they were among seven South American teams and 13 in total. Their last appearance was in Spain in 1982, when the All Whites made their first finals appearance.

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Peru last played in the World Cup finals in 1982, when the late Steve Sumner led the All Whites to their first ever finals appearance. Photo / Photosport
Peru last played in the World Cup finals in 1982, when the late Steve Sumner led the All Whites to their first ever finals appearance. Photo / Photosport

5) Peru have a couple of unwanted records - their first ever match finals match against Romania in 1930 drew a "crowd" of 300, a World Cup record low. A Peru player became the first to be sent off in the World Cup during that match.

6) Their team of the 1970s is regarded as probably their finest. It included the man considered their greatest player - goal-scoring midfielder Teofilo "The Kid" Cubillas who played in three World Cups and was the South American player of the year in 1972.

7) In 1987, Peru suffered one of football's greatest disasters when a plane chartered by the Alianza Lima club crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing 43 players, cheerleaders, staff and crew members. The 38-year-old Cubillas came out of retirement to help the club get through the tragedy.

8) The tragedy directly affects the current team. The uncle of star striker Paolo Guerrero died in the 1987 crash, and Guerrero's fear of flying is said to be linked to that. The 33-year-old Guerrero has scored a Peru record of 33 goals in 86 appearances, including five from seven this year. He has a chequered history which includes bans for insulting a referee and hurling a plastic water bottle at a fan.

9) Guerrero, who plays for Brazilian club Flamengo, is regarded as Peru's only world recognised player. Apart from scoring goals, he is a strong target man who holds the ball up. But his role changes because Gareca has fluid tactics which change markedly from match to match.

10) Other key players include 25-year-old attacking midfielder Christian Cueva, who plays for Brazil club Sao Paulo. The diminutive Cueva, who can also play on the wing, has been dubbed the 'Wizard of Sao Paulo' and was reportedly targeted by EPL club Tottenham Hotspur last year. Feyenoord midfielder Rento Tapia is the team's anchor - he is regarded as a tough, hard working player.

What will Winston Reid and co. face? Watch some Christian Cueva magic.

11) Close to half the team play in the weak Peru league. The rest are spread around leagues in England (midfielder Andre Carillo plays for well-performing EPL club Watford), Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Holland, the USA, Canada and Denmark, where star wing/midfielder Edison Flores is based. Flores has one of football's oddest nicknames - he is known as "El Orejas" or "Big Ears".

12) Peru play in the Estadio Nacional de Lima, which has a capacity of 40,000-plus and is only 137 metres above sea level. Its most recent renovation was completed in 2011. It was the scene of another dreadful tragedy in 1964, when more than 300 people died and 4000 were injured due to a riot and vicious police response after a Peru goal was disallowed against Argentina. This has been called the world's worst stadium disaster. The capacity was reduced from 53,000 as a result.

13) Peru play in one of football's most enchanting strips - white with a broad red sash. American magazine The New Republic described it as "the best World Cup uniform of all time...simple, elegant, timeless, regal, polished, sashed."
The away strip tends to reverse the colours - this has included a red shirt with a thin white sash.
Apart from the romantic red sash, another national Peru icon is the soft drink Inca Kola - a startling yellow number flavoured with lemon verbena.