Uruguay 1-0 Peru
29 March 2016
World Cup Qualifier
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
Scorer: Cavani (Uruguay)
A second-half goal from Edinson Cavani was enough to give Uruguay a 1-0 win over Peru in this World Cup qualifier, sending Uruguay to the top of the CONMEBOL qualification table, and retaining their UFWC title and status as Unofficial Football World Champions.
Cavani’s goal came in the 53rd minute, after his side had been second-best for much of the game. Luis Suarez was the creator, flicking the ball to Cavani, who smashed a left-footed shot across keeper Pedro Gallese and into the far corner of the net. And Cavani almost doubled the lead, thudding a header against the crossbar.
Peru should have been ahead in the first half, with Paolo Guerrero driving a great chance straight at Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera. And they almost snatched a draw right at the death, with Andy Polo dragging a shot just wide.
The 1-0 win was Uruguay’s 22nd UFWC win in 58 title matches. They remain in 11th place in the all-time UFWC rankings. And this was Peru’s fourth UFWC challenge within the last 10 months. All were unsuccessful, and Peru haven’t held the UFWC title since 1982.
Uruguay’s win, combined with a first qualifying defeat for Ecuador, in Colombia, moved Uruguay to the top of the ten-team CONMEBOL qualification table, ahead of second-placed Ecuador on goal difference, and two points clear of third-placed Argentina. WC qualification resumes in September, when Uruguay travel to Argentina.
The next UFWC title match is particularly interesting as it introduces a brand new challenger to the unofficial competition – Uruguay will play a friendly in Montevideo on 27 May against Trinidad & Tobago. The Soca Warriors don’t have a UFWC ranking, but are currently ranked 49th by FIFA, having risen from 89th six years ago and 78th three years ago into FIFA’s top 50, above the likes of Serbia, Norway and Japan. Trinidad & Tobago are currently unbeaten in CONCACAF WC qualification and sit on top of their group, above the second-placed USA.
The friendly against Trinidad & Tobago is Uruguay’s only scheduled warm-up game ahead of the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Uruguay begin their Copa America campaign on 5 June against Mexico, and they go on to play Venezuela and Jamaica in the group stage. Uruguay are not among the bookies’ favourites to win the Copa, and are currently 12/1, which UFWC followers may regard as good value. The favourites are Argentina, followed by Brazil, USA, Chile and Colombia.