The South Africa 2010 qualifying competition brought nothing but disappointment for Peru. Early draws against Paraguay and Brazil proved to be a false dawn, followed as they were by heavy defeats to Ecuador and Uruguay and a run of six straight losses that put paid to any remote qualification hopes they may have had. At the end of it all, they trailed home bottom of the ten-team CONMEBOL group behind Bolivia and Venezuela.
FIFA World Cup finals history
Peru took part in the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ finals in Uruguay in 1930, where they were eliminated in the first round. They made their return in Mexico 40 years on with a side led by Teofilo Cubillas and Hector Chumpitaz. An impressive campaign was only halted in the quarter-finals by the brilliant Brazilians. At Argentina 1978 they once again eased through the group phase, but came unstuck in a tough group in the second round. It was the last hurrah of a talented generation and when the Peruvians travelled to Spain four years later for what would be their final appearance to date, they failed to win a game, although they did manage to hold eventual winners Italy to a draw.
The current crop
Absent from the last seven FIFA World Cup finals, Peru turned to the experienced Sergio Markarian in a bid to revive their ailing fortunes. The Uruguayan coach appears to be on the right track, overseeing some promising recent performances which include a shock third-place finish at the 2011 Copa America in Argentina. “Our plan is to recover the lustre that Peruvian football once had and strengthen the squad ahead of [Brazil 2014] qualifying,” he said in a recent interview with FIFA.com.
The key players
Markarian’s belief is based on the playing personnel at his disposal. Claudio Pizarro is back in the national fold after a lengthy absence and will carry the team’s goal threat along with Jefferson Farfan, who has worked wonders at Schalke. Juan Vargas, Paolo Guerrero and Carlos Zambrano also feature among Peru’s foreign-based stars and bring plenty of experience and drive to the side.
Coach: Sergio Markarian
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Mexico 1970, Argentina 1978 (Quarter-finals), Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Berlin 1936 (Quarter-finals), FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007 (Quarter-finals)
Former stars: Teofilo Cubillas, Hector Chumpitaz, Nolberto Solano