Peru say no special treatment planned for Argentina's Lionel Messi

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca says his side are unlikely to man-mark Lionel Messi in Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Argentina.

Peru go into the encounter at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires sitting fourth in the South American group, holding the last direct qualifying spot for next year's World Cup with two games remaining.

Argentina are in fifth place, level on 24 points with Peru, and need a result on Thursday to keep their hopes of automatic qualification alive.

Messi was held in check in a Barcelona win last week as Girona decided to man-mark him, but Peru's Gareca said he will not be giving special treatment to Argentina's captain.

The coach said in a news conference: "We don't generally man-mark players. We are analysing it but it's unlikely.

"[Messi] is a player that cannot be disputed. He elicits admiration. For us it's a privilege to be on a stage like we are going to be, in a situation that we are in and facing an Argentina side that will have the best players in the world.

"We consider Argentina among the best national teams in the world. They have players of superlative level. But we will go out determined to take a win because that is our mentality."

Peru, who end their campaign at home to Colombia on Oct. 10, head into this week's encounter on the back of three straight wins in qualifying, including a 2-1 home triumph over Uruguay in March.

"We are at an ideal time to face any national team in any venue," Gareca, a former Argentina international player, said. "The team is in good condition to play a good game. We are going to play against an important national team in a big venue but it's no different to what we have had to encounter in previous games.

"Peruvians have to be calm. We are at our best time, emotionally and from a football standpoint. We are ready."

Peru, who last competed at a World Cup in 1982, held Argentina to a 2-2 draw in Lima one year ago.

However, they will not be at full strength with quartet Paolo Hurtado, Christian Cueva, Andre Carrillo and Christian Ramos all suspended.

"We want to keep depending on ourselves heading into the final qualifier," Gareca said. "Regardless of what happens on Thursday, we will still go into the final round with options. "The team can do great things. Since I started working for the team, we have a psychologist because it's important."

Gareca, who began his football career at Boca Juniors, knows what atmosphere his team will encounter on Thursday.

"We know that it [Boca's home La Bombonera] plays an important role when Argentina play but we're accustomed to dealing with whatever comes at us," the 59-year-old said.