Peru v Scotland
29 May 2018

Reigning Unofficial Football World Champions Peru begin their World Cup warm-up with a title match against all-time UFWC champions Scotland. The match, in Lima on Tuesday, 29 May, is the first of the warm-ups before Peru head to Russia. La Blanquirroja, managed by popular Argentinian Ricardo Gareca – assisted by former Newcastle United midfielder Nolberto Solano, will also play Saudi Arabia on 3 June and Sweden on 9 June. Their World Cup campaign gets underway on 16 June against Denmark.

Peru have been dealt a major blow ahead of this game, and ahead of their World Cup campaign. Veteran captain and all-time record goalscorer Paolo Guerrero will be suspended following a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to extended his ban for alleged doping from six months to 14 months. Guerrero tested positive for cocaine following Peru’s UFWC match against Argentina in October, although he claims it was accidently ingested via a tea infusion, and was not performance-enhancing. He had served the six-month ban, and had expected to play in the World Cup. The 36 year old met with FIFA President Gianni Infantino today (Tuesday) in an attempt to have the ban extension overturned. The captains of the three teams Peru will face in Group C of the World Cup, France, Australia and Denmark, all signed a letter requesting that Guerrero be allowed to play.

In Guerrero’s absence, Peru will rely for goals on another veteran, 33-year-old Jefferson Farfán, now at Lokomotiv Moscow, most likely alongside Watford’s André Carrillo. Midfielder Christian Cueva can play in a number 10 role, and Edison Flores will also get forward. At the back, another veteran, 34-year-old Alberto Rodríguez will marshall the defence, and will take the captain’s armband from Guerrero. Pedro Gallese is the first-choice goalkeeper.

Scotland are also depleted. Manager Alex McLeish has only 21 players to call upon following a series of injuries and withdrawals. Stuart Armstrong, John Souttar, Allan McGregor, Barry Douglas, Matt Ritchie and Ryan Fraser have all pulled out of the squad in recent days. The remainder of the squad looks extremely raw. Only Blackburn defender Charlie Mulgrew and West Brom striker Matt Phillips have more than ten caps. Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has enjoyed a breakthrough season for his club, but has only one cap for his country. None of the squad’s three goalkeepers have ever played for Scotland before.

Peru have been Unofficial Football World Champions since August 2017, when they beat Bolivia 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier. Their unbeaten UFWC run has stretched for eight games, including five wins. Peru are currently ranked 16th in the UFWC all-time rankings table with 16 title match wins.

Scotland are the all-time Unofficial Football World Champions according to the UFWC rankings table. They top the table, ahead of second-placed England, because of their dominance of international football in the years that preceded the first World Cup. The Scots’ history in the tournament goes all the way back to the very first UFWC title match in 1872. They’ve won 86 UFWC title matches, compared to England’s 73 and third-placed Argentina’s 62.

But, although Scotland are the all-time champions, they’ve not held the title since 2007, when they beat Georgia 2-1 then lost to Italy 2-0. Since then, they’ve unsuccessfully contested for the title twice, both times against the Netherlands, in March and September 2009.

Peru and Scotland have never played each other in the UFWC, but they have played each other three times outside of the UFWC, all in the 1970s, with one win each and a draw, making the head-to-head record dead even. But Peru’s win was at the 1978 World Cup Finals, and it effectively prevented Scotland from qualifying for the second round.

If Peru win, the next UFWC title match will be their game against Saudi Arabia, in St Gallen, Switzerland, on 3 June. Saudi Arabia have played in five previous title matches, but have never won one. If Scotland win, the all-time champions will become the current champions, and the next title match will see them play Mexico on 3 June.

We’ll have full coverage of the Peru-Scotland title match here on the UFWC website. And you can keep up to date with all things UFWC by following us on Twitter or Facebook. How are Scotland all-time unofficial champions? Read more here, or check out the brand new UFWC book.

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.

About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.