Peru 1-1 Colombia
10 October 2017
Estadio Nacional, Lima
World Cup Qualifier
Scorers: Rodríguez (Colombia); Guerrero (Peru)
Unofficial Football World Champions Peru held on to the UFWC title and their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup on an incredible night of CONMEBOL football. Captain and centre forward Paolo Guerrero’s brilliant equaliser, 11 minutes from the end, secured a 1-1 draw against Colombia, which might have been enough to see both teams qualify outright. Results elsewhere, however, including a remarkable win for Argentina in Ecuador, saw Colombia retain automatic qualification, and Peru hang on to a play-off place. The next UFWC title match will be the World Cup play-off against New Zealand.
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca once again selected Guerrero as a lone striker, supported by Christian Cueva in the number 10 role. José Pekerman’s Colombia looked to have much stronger attacking options, with Radamel Falcao and Jorge Banguero supported by Juan Cuadrado and James Rodríguez.
Peru had slightly better of a tight first half, but Colombia took the initiative in the second, scoring in the 56th minute, when Bayern Munich loanee Rodriguez ran onto a loose ball and drove it past keeper Pedro Gallese.
The 79th-minute equaliser was worth waiting for. Guerrero, who had battled for every ball in a tough captain’s performance, curled an exquisite free kick around the Colombian wall, beating David Ospina at the near post.
Elsewhere, though, a Lionel Messi hat-trick rescued Argentina – who had been a goal down within 60 seconds against Ecuador – and saw them leapfrog both Colombia and Peru into the third automatic qualifying place, behind Brazil and Uruguay. That pushed Colombia down into to the fourth automatic place, and Peru into the fifth play-off place – on goal difference ahead of unlucky Chile, who lost 3-0 to Brazil. Peru had scored 27 and conceded 26, while Chile had scored 26 and conceded 27.
In terms of the UFWC, the draw means that both Peru and Colombia remain tied in 22nd place in the all-time rankings, with nine title match wins each.
Next up are the World Cup 2018 intercontinental play-offs, with Peru facing New Zealand over two legs, away on 5 November and at home on 14 November. Both of these matches will be UFWC title matches.
New Zealand have never before competed in the UFWC, and are therefore unranked. And Peru and New Zealand have never played each other before. New Zealand do, however, have experience of the intercontinental play-offs. They beat Bahrain 1-0 on aggregate in the play-off for the 2010 World Cup, and lost 9-3 on aggregate to Mexico for 2014.
The first leg, and the next UFWC title match, will be played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington
on 5 November, and we’ll have full coverage here. UPDATE: Following requests from both sides, in order to accommodate their long-haul travel arrangements, FIFA has agreed that the first leg will now be played in Wellington on 11 November, with the second leg in Lima on 15 November.
In the meantime, if you’re new to the Unofficial Football World Championships you can find out all about the UFWC here. And you can keep up to date with all things UFWC by following us on Twitter or Facebook.
(Note: For the avoidance of confusion, this match was played on the evening of 10 October in Lima, which was the morning of 11 October in the UK.)