Opponent watch: Peru skipper makes return from drugs ban

Peru has received a huge boost ahead of upcoming FIFA World Cup with the country’s greatest-ever scorer finally making his return following a drugs ban.

There was mixed news regarding a couple of French defenders while Denmark’s new official World Cup kits have been leaked.

It’s all here in this week’s Opponent Watch.


Peru striker Paolo Guerrero made his return to professional football on the weekend following the completion of his six-month drugs ban.

Guerrero was banned after testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine following Peru's World Cup qualifier with Argentina in October last year.

He played the last 33 minutes of Flamengo’s clash with Internacional, almost scoring from a free-kick that flashed inches wide of the post.

While his drugs ban has ended, the 34-year-old is still no certainty to get to Russia, testifying at the Court of Arbitration for Sport before an appeal hearing into his positive test.

The CAS says a verdict could come next week, with WADA hoping to increase his ban to one or two years.

"I am very confident that it's going to be alright, because I am innocent," Guerrero said after the game.

"This is very emotional, a big crowd, the Maracana full, us winning 2-0.

"It's incredible living this after the six months I've gone through, this injustice."

Guerrero has scored 32 goals for his country and helped them finish third in the 2011 and 2015 Copa America tournaments.

Peru must name their provisional World Cup squad by May 14.


Defender Laurent Koscielny has been ruled out of the World Cup, after rupturing his Achilles in Arsenal’s loss to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League on Friday (AEST).

"It's a very big blow for the French team," said Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps.

"An injury never comes at the right time.

“I am really very sad for Laurent because this World Cup was also a very important moment for him in his career and I wish him strength and a good return to the field because I'm sure he still has some great things to show."

Koscielny, who has been capped 51 times by France, previously indicated he would retire from international football after the World Cup.

But there was better news for France with another defender – Man City’s Benjamin Mendy - insisting he would be at "full power" for Russia.

Mendy, 23, returned from a serious knee injury for Manchester City in April, meaning he has played just seven games this season.

"I'll do like everyone else and try to get as much playing time as possible," Mendy told SFR Sport.

"We'll see when the [squad] list comes out. Physically and mentally, I'm at full power and I'm ready to go to Russia."

Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny battles with Atletico's Diego Costa before suffering his injury.


While it’s not been made official yet, Denmark’s new kits for the 2018 FIFA World Cup appear to have been leaked online.

The kits, made by local brand Hummel, are set to feature a clean and modern aesthetic.

Predominantly red, the Denmark 2018 World Cup jersey is about as classic as it gets with the Hummel chevrons running down the arms, as well as white trim on the neck, sleeve cuffs and hem.

A bit of blue is present at the end of the sleeves, too.

The away kit is based on the same template but will be white with red logos and blue trim on the neck and sleeve cuffs.

The official kit release is expected to be early next week.