A historical look at Argentina against Peru.
Mundo Albiceleste reader George Thomas (argnetuban) was kind enough to write a piece on how Argentina hasn't always had it easy when it comes to playing against Peru. A well written piece and something to give you a historical background. Thanks George and hope you all enjoy the read!
On October 11th, Argentina will try to secure its position at the top of the table for CONMEBOL qualifying. While the recent rivalry has suggested hat Argentina should pull out an easy victory without controversy, history tells us that this has not always been the case.
In the 1970 World Cup qualifying campaign, Argentina could not defeat Peru, losing away and drawing at home. As a result, Peru qualified for the World Cup, and Argentina finished bottom of a 3 team table that also included Bolivia and did not qualify. Teofilo CUBILLAS, the greatest footballer in Peruvian history, lead his team to a 6th place finish at the World Cup in Mexico.
In 1978, going into the final group match of the second round at the World Cup, Brazil had just won its final match, finishing with 5 points, a +5 goal differential, and 6 goals scored to lead the table. Even if Argentina could defeat Peru, Brazil would be even on points and in most scenarios ahead on goal differential/goals scored. Argentina needed to defeat Peru by at least 4 goals to jump Brazil for a spot in the final based on goal differential. They would win 6-0 in a match marred by controversy.
For one, Peru’s goalkeeper, Ramon QUIROGA, was Argentine-born. But most damning, recent accusations have suggested that then dictator-in-chief of Argentina, Jorge Rafael VIDELA, negotiated a deal with Peruvian president Francisco BERMUDEZ to take in 13 Peruvian dissidents opposed to BERMUDEZ’s presidency as part and parcel of the right-wing Operation Condor plan to suppress, via often brutal means of torture and murder, political dissidence. Even today, many members of that Argentine national team believe that the government negotiated a deal, and have stated that they feel their victory is tainted.
Coming off of a disappointing failure to defend the title as favorites in 1982, Argentina would have to qualify for the 1986 World Cup. CONMEBOL broke the teams up in 3 groups – 1 of 4 teams, and 2 of 3 teams. The winner of each group would qualify outright for the World Cup, and the runners up would go to a CONMEBOL playoff for the 4th and final position.
Argentina drew Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. Winning direct qualification came down to the final match day, where Argentina hosted Peru. Leading the group with 8 points to Peru’s 7 points, Argentina needed a win or a draw to secure direct qualification. Argentina had already lost its away match to Peru, which indicated that the match would not be easy. Despite opening the scoring, Argentina went down 2-1 at half time. In the final 10 minutes of the match, they scored the tying goal and held on for a draw, qualifying directly for the World Cup. Peru failed to secure the 4th spot, falling in the CONMEBOL playoffs.
As we all know, Argentina would go on to win their 2cd World Cup in 1986. From that draw on, Argentina has not lost to Peru in World Cup qualifying. They did, however, lose to Peru in the 1997 Copa America quarterfinals in Bolivia, largely due to the Peruvian keeper saving a Marcelo GALLARDO penalty.
While Peru has gone through quite a dry spell in terms of its football in the past two and half decades, that has not always been the case. This is a rivalry has not always been dominated by Argentina. All the more reason to remember not to take any matches for granted...
Again, thank you to George!