Russia 2018 Watch: Peru tame Socceroos, but both head home
- Credit: Archant
Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews one of the early games on day 13 of the tournament
Australia and Peru were meeting for the first time and qualified for the tournament as a result of intercontinental play-offs – with the Socceroos triumphing over Honduras and los Incas overcoming New Zealand.
Australia had lost 1-0 to eventual winners Italy in the last 16 of the 2006 tournament on the same June 26 date, while Peru are enduring their longest ever winless run in the competition.
They had gone eight matches without a victory since a 4-1 victory over Iran in 1978, in what was the Peruvians only previous meeting against an Asian outfit. It’s the third-longest winless streak by a South American nation, with Chile (13) and Uruguay (12) previously enduring longer barren runs.
On the other hand, Australia were enduring a five-game run without a victory – after their 1-1 draw against Denmark in the previous match equalled their worst ever run between 2006 and 2010.
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The Australians had never beaten South American opposition in three attempts – losing by two-goal margins to Brazil in 2006 (2-0) and Chile in 2014 (3-1). However, they managed a draw against the Chileans in 1974 (the Socceroos debut tournament) – their first ever point in a World Cup.
The Aussies required a victory against the already-eliminated South Americans and also needed France to do them a favour against Denmark to progress, but fell behind in the 18th minute, when André Carrillo met Paolo Guerrero’s cross to volley home into the far corner.
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It was an historic goal as it was Peru’s first at the World Cup in 36 years – meaning that none of La Blanquirroja’s players were born when they last scored in the tournament.
Five minutes into the second half, the Australians looked destined to be heading out when Peru’s all-time top-scorer Guerrero fired home via a deflection to double their lead. It was his 36th goal for his country and possibly his last.
Australia responded by bringing on veteran striker Tim Cahill (their second most-capped player making his 107th appearance and appearing in his fourth tournament, after which he is expected to retire) and the tournament’s youngest player in 19-year old Daniel Arzani, in the hope of restoring parity.
And in the 59th minute, seven minutes into his introduction, Cahill went close to reducing the deficit when he saw his strike blocked by Christian Ramos following a corner.
The Australians had Queens Park Rangers’ Massimo Luongo on the bench but instead opted to bring on another Championship player in Hull City’s Jackson Irvine.
But he couldn’t inspire the team as Peru held on to win their first match in 40 years to finish third in Group C – with both sides bowing out of the competition.
The other match saw France and Denmark in the first goalless draw of the tournament as both sides progressed into the last 16, amid a cacophony of boos from the crowd who were far from impressed with the apparent lack of intent from either side.
France topped the group on seven points and Denmark finished second on five.