A Profile of the Peru National Football Team
Currently, the Peru national football team is in the midst of the 2015 Copa America, vying for a spot in the tournament’s knockout stage. Sunday’s match against Colombia will determine whether or not the squad progresses to the next round. In the meantime, we figured it was an appropriate time to look back at Peru’s history as a football nation.
Peru at the World Cup
Soccer fans who only pay attention to global events like the World Cup haven’t seen much of the Peruvian side over the years. In fact, the White and Red have only participated in four World Cups throughout history – first in the tournament’s inaugural 1930 event, and not again until 1970. 1970 saw the team’s peak at the global FIFA competition with a sixth place finish. Subsequent qualifications followed in 1978 and 1982, but Peru hasn’t been back to the World Cup since.
Peru at the Copa America
Peru’s history at the Copa America (and previously, at the South American Championship) is stronger, but only marginally more impressive in recent years. When the event was the South American Championship (from 1916 to 1967), the Peruvian national team won one title (in 1939) and finished third on four occasions (in 1927, 1935, 1949, and 1955).
When the event name was changed to the Copa America, Peru’s fortunes only improved. They won the very first incarnation of the Copa America tournament in 1975, beating Bolivia and Chile in the group stage, toppling Brazil in a two-leg semifinal, and besting Colombia in the finals to win the trophy. The finals that year were particularly thrilling, coming down to a third playoff game after the first two legs left the aggregate score at stalemate.
Peru continued to perform strongly in the years following the tournament name change. In 1979, they came in fourth, narrowly losing to Chile in the semifinals. Another narrow semifinal elimination came in 1983, this time against Uruguay—though the Peruvian squad did ultimately earn a third-place finish that year.
In the years since that podium finish, the White and Red have only returned to the semifinals twice. In 1987, they were trounced 0-7 in the semis, by eventual tournament champions Brazil. In 2011, meanwhile—at the most recent Copa America tournament—the Peruvians were once again beaten out in the semis by the eventual champs: Uruguay. The squad did, however, win the consolation match, beating Venezuela to earn a spot on the podium for the first time in nearly three decades.
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Unfortunately, it looks like the White and Red may be outmatched on all sides at this year’s Copa America. The field for the tournament this year is stacked, both with great teams and star players. Argentina has Lionel Messi; Brazil has Neymar; Colombia has James Rodriguez; defending champions Uruguay are missing Luis Suarez, but still have PSG’s Edinson Cavani.
In comparison to these global soccer celebrities, Peru—with an aging and a crew of relative unknowns in the midfield and on defense—will struggle to contend. The squad’s key man has to be Jefferson Farfan, a Schalke 04 forward known for his speed and his ability to create scoring opportunities. But Farfan, who has 66 caps and 18 goals with the Peruvian squad, celebrated his 30th birthday last fall, and may be nearing the end of his international career.
The same is true for other veteran offensive players such as Paulo Guerrero and Claudio Pizarro. Pizarro, for instance, didn’t score a single goal in his 13 league appearances for Bayern Munich in 2014 – 2015. Can he be more effective in the high-stakes arena of the 2015 Copa America?
In any case, you can support the Peruvian football squad in the 2015 Copa America by stopping by Soccer Box today. We have both the home and away Peru football shirts in stock, and you can save 12.5% on both by typing in the coupon code “BLOG2015” at checkout.