Playoffs: New Zealand vs Peru
After the chaotic end of South America’s World Cup qualifying, it was Peru who snatched the daunting play-off spot making the long trip to New Zealand in nine days where the Kiwis are ready to put up a brave fight of their own against the Blanquirojos.
This fixture has already been played out off the field as both sets of fans on social media with New Zealand’s active support group ‘The Flying Kiwis,’ believed they were up against a team with big international names, “If it were Argentina the players would be star struck and all of our fans would be there to watch the best player in the world.”
He continued: “So for us being Peru, yes they are a top 10 team but there is not an aura…”
It is safe to say for those of us who follow CONMEBOL football know that this Kiwi’s words are pushing on the border of ignorance. And, it is safe to say all their fans will be in awe of watching a Peruvian legend of today who has done it all and then some in the fight to get his country over the line, Paolo Guerrero.
Peru did not reach the play-offs through a string of lucky results nor because of their ‘B-string’ starting XI. The stadium will be packed to witness star players in the own right like Paolo Guerrero who has played 227 games in Germany starting from Bayern Munich II then graduating to Bayern Munich and then to making 134 appearances for Hambuger SV scoring 92 goals. And adding 86 appearances in 6 years for his national side and 35 goals, the football world has lost count at how valuable some his goals are like the goal versus Colombia on the final day of World Cup qualifying on 82 minutes.
Paolo Guerrero has made this moment his and at his ripe age of 33 is more than ready to propel this Peru side drilled by Ricardo Gareca to the finish line and break a 35 year drought World Cup appearance.
It’s a clean sweep
Entering this game Peru’s squad had eight of their players on yellow cards and at high risk of missing the return leg so, Football Federation of Peru appealed the status of the amounting yellow cards to FIFA arguing that New Zealand had played fewer games in their qualifying rounds.
New Zealand featured in seven Oceania qualifying matches plus a two leg play-off. Peru played 18 matches finishing fifth in the CONMEBOL standings.
“This resolution is an example that allows both national sides to start from an equal footing in the playoffs,” FPF president Edwin Oviedo said on the federation’s website.
One last fight
Nine days away from the playoffs, a Chile lawyer by the name of Raul Meza, independently is fighting his own case against FIFA’s Disciplinary Commission.
Raul Meza is fighting the case of match fixing between Peru and Colombia on the final match day of CONMEBOL World Cup qualification. After his request was granted to reach the disciplinary commission, his fight looks like to have taken flight as he believes “a decision is favourable.”
“The Disciplinary Commission at FIFA are in the early stages of studying the evidence that accompanies our complaints,” added the lawyer. Raul Meza is hopeful as a date has been set for the final verdict.
“That decision is favourable, which will be taken on 6 November, the official date on which the Commission will meet, will have to decide on they request we have made as complaints to suspend provisionally the playoff between Peru and New Zealand,” ended Raul.
If it was not football taking the limelight, off the field results may play a part in settling a result. Even though some fans have made it clear there is no way Chile should make it to Russia but do believe in eliminating Peru and giving New Zealand automatic qualification.
As always, we will have to wait and see and South America’s football never, ever sleeps.