Peru has salvaged the remains of its World Cup campaign with a respectable 2-0 victory over Australia, marking its first win at the competition in 40 years.
Peru maintained a clean-sheet in the final game of Group C to defeat the Australian side, ranked 36 in the world by FIFA. The win is a drought-breaker for the South American side as it marks Peru’s first win at the World Cup in 40 years and first World Cup goals in 36 years.
Striker André Carrillo got things underway in style, volleying a cross into the bottom left corner of the net in the 18th minute. La Blanquirroja held the lead into half-time despite repeated shots on goal from the Australians. Accuracy did not help their efforts as the Australian side registered two shots on target out of 14 attempts for the match.
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It was Peruvian captain Paolo Guerrero whose deflected shot put the result beyond doubt. It is perhaps poetic that Guerrero found the back of the net as he almost missed the competition after testing positive for a banned substance last year. Guerrero had tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite of cocaine, and was slapped with a one-year competition ban from FIFA. The ban was eventually overturned right in time for his World Cup debut as Guerrero’s lawyers argued the failed test had occurred as a result of the consumption of a traditional coca tea.
The goal for 34-year-old Guerrero makes him the third-oldest South American player to ever score at the World Cup.
Despite the win, Peru does not have enough points to proceed into the Round of 16 because of two straight 1-0 losses to start off cup play. Peru finishes third in its group as France and Denmark earn the right to proceed. Australia finishes the group in last place with only one point.
The loss to Peru is disappointing for the Australian side, which registers a third win-less World Cup appearance. The team has only competed in five in their history.
Peru fans, however, can return home from Russia knowing they have earned that elusive World Cup win.