Peru face their biggest challenge so far as they prepare for Saturday's quarter-final clash with Ghana, who overcame favourites Brazil on Wednesday. Having topped a pool featuring hosts Korea Republic, Togo, and Costa Rica, Juan Jose Ore's charges shared two goals with Tajikistan over 120 minutes under the rain, before reaching the last eight after a nail-biting penalty shootout.
"It was a difficult game as I had expected," the coach told FIFA.com. "My players moved a lot throughout the game and created so many chances but couldn't score enough goals to win. But I trusted (Peru goalkeeper) Hermoza till the end and we finally got the result."
As the former Universitario legend admits, the Peruvians have had to deal with some problems on their way to the quarter-final. "Our forwards just couldn't score. I didn't expect this to happen because they were in good form in a build-up to the finals. But somehow things changed now."
In fact, Carlos Bazalar had been the only scorer in the Peruvian camp before Reimond Manco broke his duck against Tajikistan. The attacking midfield duo of Alianza Lima have been an integral part of Peru's progress so far, but Ore seems to care more about the collective effort of his players.
"We don't rely on individual effort and I don't want to build a team around one player. Reimond has a good talent in him but he couldn't show his potential during the group games. I think he's getting better since last game as he's learning how to play for the team."
While Ore is worried about the lack of firepower, Peru boast the meanest defence among the participants in this tournament. Their goalkeeper Eder Hermoza kept a clean sheet in all three games in the first phase, before leaking a first goal to Tajikistan's Nuriddin Davronov.
"Our strength comes from the compact organisation of our defence," Ore explains. "It was created during the South American qualifiers and we kept on building the defence. Even if we're still waiting for (Hersi) Socola to recover from the knee injury, our defenders have done so well so far."
Ore knows the weaknesses and strengths of his team. But how much does he know about their next opponent? "Frankly speaking, we are still studying Ghana's games so far," says the coach. "They are very strong in attack and the players seem to know how to hold the ball."
"I'm analysing the video of their game against Brazil. Even if Ghana are a strong team, I'm sure that there are weaknesses, which we should capitalise on. I cannot say we're going to win, but we're ready to show what we are capable of."