- Peru ended their Russia 2018 campaign on a high
- It was Peru’s first victory for four decades at the FIFA World Cup
- Andre Carillo says Peru need to develop a habit of qualifying
By Gilda Arrua with Peru
His face breaks into his smile. Like a birthday boy who has just been presented with his first football. One of Peru’s standout performers throughout their time at Russia 2018, Andre Carrillo was deservedly named Budweiser Man of the Match against Australia, a game in which he etched his name into the history books by scoring his country’s first goal at a World Cup for 36 years.
“We’ve put an end to that bad run. Now it’s up to us to make sure we return to the World Cup every four years,” he said, grinning.
That historic strike against Australia was Carrillo’s sixth goal for Los Incas. But the winger played down his own contribution, preferring to focus on the achievements of the whole team and, above all, the joy of his fellow countrymen. “It was a wonderful feeling. Although we weren’t able to qualify against Australia, we played that match as if it were a final because the Peruvian fans deserved the chance to cheer goals and celebrate a win.”
And how they cheered. And sang. And cried.
Andre believes that the team’s experiences in Russia will stand them in good stead, and that results will soon follow. “We’ve played well. We have to cut out the errors and carry on working, because we’ve got plenty more to offer.
“The players have grown a lot out here,” he continued. “Youngsters in Peru are dreaming of this. Without a doubt, Peruvian football will grow stronger as a result of our experience here.”
As far as Carrillo is concerned, Ricardo Gareca deserves all the credit for La Blanquirroja’s historic achievements. “For me personally, he’s been very important. He always gives us confidence. The coach did everything to secure us qualification to this World Cup. The coaching staff have done a flawless job. We’re very happy with them.”