Peru 3-1 Iceland
27 March 2018
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
Scorers: Tapia, Ruidíaz, Farfan
Peru won their second UFWC title match in four days, beating Iceland 3-1 to retain the unofficial title and set up an much-anticipated title match against all-time unofficial champions Scotland. Backed by a large following of fans, Peru matched Iceland in the first half then dominated the second half in this World Cup warm-up in New Jersey. This was Peru’s 12th UFWC title match win. Iceland have never won a UFWC match.
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca made only one change to the team that beat Croatia, with Raúl Ruidíaz coming in for the suspended Yoshimar Yotún. Captain Paolo Guerrero was serving the final match of his suspension. Iceland were without their star man Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Everton playmaker has a knee injury.
Peru, playing in their reverse change kit of all red with white sash, opened the scoring after just two minutes with the type of goal Iceland don’t usually concede. A long free kick sailed into the penalty area and was nodded home on the edge of a packed six-yard box by Feyenoord’s Renato Tapia.
Iceland responded with a more typical set piece of their own in the 22nd minute, when defender Jón Guðni Fjóluson headed in from a corner. Both sides had half-chances after that, but neither goalkeeper made any saves of note, and the first half ended 1-1.
The second half saw Peru take the initiative, and take the lead. A 58th-minute cross was headed back across goal by Jefferson Farfan, and driven home from close range by Ruidíaz. Then, on 75 minutes, Farfan hit a deflected shot that rolled beyond Iceland keeper Frederik Schram to make it 3-1. (“Gol Coca-Cola!” yelled the Peruvian commentators, which we now know, thanks to UFWC commenters, is because goals are sponsored on Peruvian TV.)
The win moves Peru up to 16th in the all-time UFWC rankings, level with Austria and Wales. We previously noted that Peru were 9/1 to reach the World Cup quarter finals. They are now 12/1 with certain bookmakers, which UFWC followers might think represents a decent bet.
The next UFWC title match looks like a real treat, as current Unofficial Football World Champions Peru take on all-time Unofficial Football World Champions Scotland. Based on the all-time rankings, Scotland have won 86 UFWC title matches, more than any other nation. But Scotland haven’t held the title for more than ten years. Their last UFWC win was against Georgia in 2007. Scotland are currently ranked 32nd in the world by FIFA, compared to Peru’s 11th. The match will be played on 29 May 2018 in Peru, with the venue to be confirmed, but most likely at the Estadio Nacional in Lima.
How are Scotland all-time unofficial champions? Read more here, or check out the brand new UFWC book. We’ll have further coverage of the match here on the UFWC website. And you can keep up to date with all things UFWC by following us on Twitter or Facebook.
Note that Peru v Iceland kicked off at 20:00 on 27 March in New Jersey, which was 01:00 on 28 March in the UK.
New for 2018, the latest edition of the official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions by Paul Brown, is out now. This is the fourth edition of the book that has been published in every World Cup year since 2006.
Expanded and updated to include new matches, teams, players and statistics, it’s a complete guide to the UFWC, including all 936 title matches played since 1872, and all 48 unofficial football world champions.
It’s available exclusively from Amazon stores worldwide, priced at £9.99 or $13.95 – click here.