Argentina 0-0 Peru
5 October 2017
La Bombonera, Buenos Aires
World Cup Qualifier
Unofficial Football World Champions Peru kept their World Cup qualification hopes alive, and dealt a major blow to Argentina’s, as they retained the UFWC title in Buenos Aires. The tense goalless draw has left the CONMEBOL qualification table incredibly tight with just one qualifier to go. As things stand, Peru will go to the inter-continental play-offs, and Argentina will be eliminated.
While the world’s press reacts with shock, UFWC followers know that, with Peru as the in-form unofficial champions, Argentina faced a tough task.
Argentina had the likes of Messi, Di Maria and Banega in their side at La Bombonera, but were missing the injured Sergio Aguero. Boca Juniors striker Dario Benedetto played up front. But, once again, the team failed to gel under coach Jorge Sampaoli, and were stifled by a hard-working Peru.
Knowing that a draw would keep them ahead of their rivals in the qualification table, Peru set out to shut down Argentina’s danger men, with coach Ricardo Gareca sticking Reinaldo Tapia man-to-man on Messi. The tactic worked. Although Messi came closest to breaking the deadlock with a shot that struck the post, he was restricted to bit parts.
Meanwhile Peru, with Paolo Guerrero alone up front, carried sufficient threat from a counter attack to prevent Argentina from throwing everything at their opponents.
The draw sees Peru in fifth place in the CONMEBOL table, ahead of sixth-placed Argentina on goals scored. The top four teams qualify automatically, and the fifth qualifies for the inter-continental play-offs. Everyone else goes home.
As things stand, only table-toppers Brazil have secured qualification. Second-placed Uruguay are guaranteed at least a spot in the play-offs. Below them, only two points separate Chile, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay.
The final round of qualifiers takes place on Tuesday, 10 October. Peru play Colombia in Lima. Argentina travel to Ecuador. Elsewhere, Chile go to Brazil, and Paraguay host Venezuela, while Uruguay are at home to Bolivia.
A win for Peru should see the UFWC champions travelling to Russia next summer. Argentina also need a win but, if Peru and the other sides above them are victorious, they will need to better Peru’s result to overhaul them on goal difference.
Of course, the UFWC title is also at stake on Tuesday. Peru’s opponents Colombia have won nine UFWC title matches, the last of which was in 2015. A win for them should also secure World Cup qualifications, having reached the quarter finals in 2014.
We’ll have full coverage of Peru v Colombia on Tuesday, 10 October. Kick off is 20:30 local time, which is 0:30 on Wednesday morning in the UK. The match will be streamed live and free at [link expired]. (You must have a funded sports account or have placed a bet within the last 24 hours in order to view the live stream. Get more info [link expired].)
We’ll have a report here after the match. 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 5 October in Buenos Aires, which was the morning of 6 October in the UK.)