Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Peru beats New Zealand, earns final spot in World Cup

Peru beats New Zealand, earns final spot in World Cup

In Lima yesterday, the 59-year-old's side clinched the last spot for next year's showpiece in Russian Federation after beating New Zealand 2-0 in the play-off second leg.

Gareca was dropped, an experience he later described as one of the bitterest of his career.

Now, the man known as "The Tiger" can look forward to a summer in Russian Federation, with a team he has patiently built back to something resembling their best.

A Christian Ramos goal in the 65th minute doubled the lead for the home side, who held on to earn the final spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

"He was very important for us at this turbulent moment", Gareca said.

As Peru's president promised, the South American country will have its soccer-dedicated holiday on Thursday. "I am very emotional".

Peru beats New Zealand, earns final spot in World Cup
Peru beats New Zealand, earns final spot in World Cup

His 2½ years in charge started inconsistently and some Peruvians, unwilling to forget his decisive goal in 1985, were quick to call for his head. It will be Peru's first trip to the World Cup since Spain in 1982.

However, they were given a huge boost in September a year ago when in their seventh match, Bolivia fielded an illegal player and the 2-0 defeat was overturned into a 3-0 victory by a sporting tribunal.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca thanked the team's psychologist for the playoff victory, which followed a fifth-place finish in South American World Cup qualifying.

The teams played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Wellington on Saturday and although both sides had chances in a tense match in Lima, Peru were more clinical in front of goal.

"This situation [qualification] clearly helps us, and that's why I thank the Peruvian squad [.] as they have helped everybody, even the Government", she concluded.

After participating in a Congress Budget Commission Meeting, the cabinet member underscored this qualification will be translated into greater confidence in Peru, as well as more consumption and -even- more investment. Their unbeaten run is now 10 games, the longest by any Peru team in 75 years.

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