Peru 2-0 Scotland
29 May 2018
Estadio Nacional, Lima
Scorers: Cueva, Farfan

Peru remain Unofficial Football World Champions following a 2-0 win over all-time top-ranked UFWC side Scotland in Lima. But the win wasn’t as straightforward as had been predicted, with an understrength Scotland team making things difficult for La Blanquirroja. Peru needed a first half penalty, converted by Christian Cueva, to take the lead. A second half goal from Jefferson Farfan made sure of the victory. The win for Peru means that the UFWC title will definitely be contested at the FIFA World Cup, as subsequent challengers have all qualified for Russia 2018. The next title match is Peru v Saudi Arabia, which will be played in St Gallen, Switzerland, on 3 June.

In the absence of Paolo Guerrero, Peru played Farfan up front, supported by Cueva and André Carrillo, who was on loan at Watford this season. As both Farfan and Cueva scored it’s clear that Peru can still pose a danger without their banned captain and top scorer. MLS star Yoshimar Yotún of Orlando City played centre midfield, with 22-year-old Renato Tapia of Feyenoord and Edison Flores of Denmark’s AaB alongside him. The very experienced defence was marshalled by stand-in skipper Alberto Rodríguez, alongside Christian Ramos, Luis Advíncula and Miguel Trauco. José Carvallo played in goal ahead of Pedro Gallese.

Scotland manager Alex McLeish had only 21 players to call upon following a series of injuries and withdrawals. He gave starting debuts to Stephen O’Donnell, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch plus Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer, and brought on newcomers Graeme Shinnie, Lewis Morgan and Chris Cadden from the bench. In a very inexperienced side, only Blackburn defender Charlie Mulgrew and West Brom striker Matt Phillips had more than ten caps. Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay won his second cap.

Keeper Archer made a good early save from a free kick, but had a nightmare for the 37th-minute opening goal, racing out of his box, only to be beaten by Farfan, whose goal-bound shot was blocked with an arm by retreating defender Scott McKenna. Cueva tucked the resulting penalty away to Archer’s right.

If Scotland planned to keep things tight at the beginning of the second half, that plan didn’t work. Peru extended their lead two minutes into the half, and Archer will not want to see replays of this goal either. A pull-back found Farfan ten yards out, and his low shot squeezed under Archer’s hand and into the net.

Scotland created nothing more than half-chances, but McLeish will be pleased with the effort put in by his young team. For Peru, this was a 12th game without defeat, and a 9th consecutive successful UFWC title defence. It was Peru’s 13th UFWC title match win, which moves them up to 16th in the all-time rankings. Scotland, of course, remain in the top spot with 86 wins.

The win means the UFWC title will definitely be contested at the World Cup finals, as Peru and all forthcoming potential challengers have qualified for Russia 2018. The next UFWC title match is Peru v Saudi Arabia on Sunday, 3 June. The match will be played at the AFG Arena in St Gallen. Saudi Arabia have played in five previous UFWC title matches, but have never held the title. They are currently ranked 67th in the world by FIFA, compared to Peru’s 11th.

If Peru win, or the match is drawn, the next title match will be Peru v Sweden. If Saudi Arabia win, it will be Saudi Arabia v Germany. And then comes the World Cup. So, whatever happens, the UFWC title will be taken to Russia – either by Peru, Saudi Arabia, Sweden or Germany.

Peru v Saudi Arabia kicks off in St Gallen at 20:00 local time (19:00 UK time) on Sunday, 3 June. We’ll have full coverage 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.

Note: This match kicked off at 20:00 on 29 May 2018 in Lima, which was 02:00 on 30 May in the UK.

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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.