Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires by Daniel / Flickr
Argentina 3-1 Peru
11 October 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires
Scorers: Pizarro (Per); Lavezzi (2), Palacio (Arg)
Although this match was a 2014 World Cup qualifier, it was the Unofficial Football World Championships that provided most interest. Argentina had already qualified for the World Cup Finals in Brazil, while Peru had already been eliminated. So the UFWC title was the only thing that really mattered. In the end, a win for Argentina allowed them to retain their UFWC title and – thanks to Colombia’s draw with Chile – secure top spot in the WC qualifying table.
Argentina were without the injured Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuain. In their absence, it was Paris Saint-Germain forward Ezequiel Lavezzi who took centre stage. But La Albiceleste had to come from behind to get their win.
Peru captain Claudio Pizarro gave the visitors a surprise lead midway through the first half. The 35-year-old Bayern Munich striker ran onto a looped through-ball from Gianmarco Gambetta, then brilliantly chipped onrushing keeper Sergio Romero from the edge of the penalty area.
Two minutes later, Argentina were level. Lavezzi poked the ball home at the far post from a corner, after Federico Fernandez’s header had been blocked by former Burnley goalkeeper Diego Penny. And Argentina went ahead in the 35th minute, when Rodrigo Palacio cut a ball back from the byline, and Lavezzi was in the right place to sidefoot it into the net.
Sergio Aguero had a goal ruled out for offside shortly before half-time, but the Manchester City man was involved in Argentina’s third, two minutes into the second half. Aguero combined with Marcos Rojo, who drove in a cross that was converted at the near post by Palacio.
Palacio, who plays in Italy for Inter Milan (and holds a Spanish passport), subsequently hit the crossbar with a clever chip, but despite Argentina’s continued dominance there were no more goals, and the match ended 3-1 to the Unofficial Football World Champions.
This was Argentina’s 57th UFWC title match win. They are the third highest-ranked team in UFWC history, behind England (73 wins) and top-ranked Scotland (86 wins).
The next UFWC title match is this Tuesday, 15 October. In the final round of World Cup qualifiers, Argentina will play Uruguay in Montevideo. Uruguay are 13th in the UFWC rankings having won 16 title matches, the last of which was in November 2006. In terms of World Cup qualification, Uruguay are assured of a play-off position, despite losing 1-0 to Ecuador today. But a win could see them leapfrog either Ecuador or Chile (who play each other on 15 October) and grab an automatic qualification spot. A draw between Ecuador and Chile would see both of those sides qualify automatically, and consign Uruguay to the play-offs.
Uruguay versus Argentina kicks off at 21:30 local time on 15 October (00:30 on 16 October BST), and the great news is you can watch a free and legal live stream of the match via our friends at Bet365. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one, but you don’t need to make a bet. If you do open an account and decide to make a deposit of £10 or more, you’ll be entitled to up to £200 in free bets. Just click on the link below.
We’ll have a full match report right here on Wednesday morning. In the meantime, feel free to contact us via Twitter and Facebook, post your comments below, and let us know who you think will win this UFWC title match by voting in our poll.