Former Peru international Nolberto Solano says Australia’s fighting spirit has the South Americans wary heading into next week’s World Cup play-off in Qatar.
The Socceroos will face Peru in a winner-takes-all inter-continental match at Doha’s Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Monday (Tues 0400 AEST).
Australia reached the game with a 2-1 win over the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday (Weds AEST), sealed through Ajdin Hrustic’s late winner.
Solano, who played alongside Socceroos Lucas Neill and Craig Moore during his career at English Premier League clubs Newcastle and West Ham, is an assistant coach of the national team.
While Peru are heading into the clash with Australia as favourites to earn the World Cup berth in Qatar, Solano said they won’t be expecting anything other than a tough game against Graham Arnold’s team.
“Australia hasn’t changed,” Solano told Qatari TV giant Bein Sports.
“Of course, (they’ve) changed players probably, but still … (a) very strong side.
“They have the passion. They never give up.
“We know it will be a difficult match.
“We understand … even if they are behind the goal, the score, they are still fighting.
“That’s Australia. So we have to be ready for that.”
Peru are yet to arrive in Qatar and have been training in Spain, where they played a friendly against New Zealand last week.
Australia returned to the training field in Doha on Thursday evening after a day off on Wednesday.
Having come-from-behind against Jordan in a 2-1 friendly win last week and then defeated the UAE despite conceding an equaliser just minutes after Jackson Irvine’s opener, captain Maty Ryan has been impressed by resilience shown in those two matches.
“When we’ve conceded goals in this campaign thus far – obviously you want to keep clean sheets – but when we have conceded it’s almost like it’s been a real shock to the system and we haven’t really responded well,” Ryan said.
“That was mentioned early doors in this camp.
“On the back of the Jordan game, and now this one (UAE), we’ve shown a real great reaction when we have conceded and weathered the moments and the emotions that come directly after conceding.
“We’ve gone on to win both games, which is a very pleasing thing.”