Peru to play in 2018 FIFA World Cup after 36 years

The South American team was last featured in 1982 Spain World Cup, where they could not cross round one.

Peru vs New Zealand
Peru vs New Zealand Reuters

Peru became the 32nd nation to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after the South American side registered a 2-0 aggregate victory over New Zealand in the play-off.

Ricardo Gareca's men made it to the play-off in an unusual circumstances after their 2-0 defeat to Bolivia was overturned to a 3-0 win because the latter brought on an ineligible player for the last few minutes of the clash.

The Incas were without their star player, national hero and captain Paolo Guerrero for the inter-confederation play-off after the 33-year-old was suspended due to a failed drug test. It was Guerrero's late free-kick against Colombia kept Peru's qualification hopes alive.

Peru finished fifth in the qualifiers, ahead of the Copa America winners Chile, who finished sixth due to their inferior goal difference.This allowed Peru to set up a clash against New Zealand in the play-off. The first leg of the play-off against New Zealand ended in a goalless draw in Wellington.

The return leg in Lima saw the hosts seal a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Jefferson Farfán defender Christian Ramos.

New Zealand tried to find a breakthrough in the foreign soil, but ended up missing a Russia berth. The home side's players dedicated their win to Guerrero, who walked around the Estadio Nacional de Lima with Guerrero's jersey after the victory over New Zealand.

Peru will be joining Spain, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia in Pot 2 ahead of the draw, which will be held on 1 December in Moscow.

According to AP News, Farfán, who opened the scoring for Peru on Wednesday, said that his team had "to endure a lot of nonsense until we got here."

On the other hand, the President of Peru, Pedro Paulo Kuczynski, had announced that the country will celebrate a national holiday on 16 November, Thursday if the team wins the World Cup qualifier.

In 1970 World Cup, Peru achieved their best ever result, when they reached the quarter-final. However, they suffered a 4-2 defeat against Brazil in the last eight that year. The South American nation last featured in 1982 World Cup, where they finished at the bottom of their group.