Peru bids untimely farewell to World Cup Russia 2018 with heads high and a smile

Peruvian football fans attentively watch the Peru-France game on screens set up at Kennedy Park, Miraflores, Lima on June 21, 2018. Photo on Flickr by user Municipalidad de Miraflores (CC BY 2.0).

After 36 years of waiting, Peruvian football fans were finally able to cheer for their national team in the World Cup championship. Despite being eliminated at the group stage of this edition, fans bid farewell to their World Cup bid with their heads held high as they defeated the Australian team with a 2-0 score.

The last time Peru defeated a rival on the World Cup stage was a 4-1 game against Iran in 1978. Peruvian fans were able to celebrate a goal in this 2018 World Cup, something which hasn't happened since the 1982 World Cup in Spain:

Some of you weren't even born when Peru scored its last goal in a World Cup match. It was Guillermo La Rosa in a game with Poland in 1982. This goal.
Peru, you can't fail tonight.

This is how the Fútbol Peruano website explained that historic goal:

El gol que convirtió Guillermo La Rosa en el Mundial de España 1982 pasará a la historia del fútbol peruano y desde este martes [26 de junio] dejará de ser el último tanto conseguido por Perú en este torneo gracias al golazo que anotó André Carrillo y abrió el camino del triunfo ante Australia por el Mundial de Rusia 2018.

The goal scored by Guillermo La Rosa during World Cup Spain 1982 will go down in football history, and from Tuesday [June 26] will no longer be the last goal scored by the Peruvian team in this sports event thanks to the great goal by André Carrillo that led the way to the victory in the game with Australia at World Cup Russia 2018.

Despite their elimination, Peruvian fans celebrated their team victory against against Australia with the same joy and enthusiasm as all the previous matches. Although they were also bested by Denmark and France with the same final score (1-0), Peruvian fans showed a level of pride and cheer that caught the attention of World Cup spectators the world round. Renowned Spanish actor Antonio Banderas nodded to Peruvian fans in a tweet:

With a fine and fearless play, Peru is eliminated from this football world cup. But above all, backed by one of the best group of fans ever seen in a world cup. To them, I take my hat off.

Tens of thousands of Peruvian fans went all the way to Russia to watch their beloved blanquirroja [literally, white and red, from the colors of their shirts] take part in the football tournament. According to estimates by Peruvian migratory authorities, about 50,000 fans traveled to Russia from every corner of the world.

Impressive. ¡Go, Peru!

This didn't go unnoticed by international media. Renowned German publication Spiegel Online pointed to the extraordinary enthusiasm of Peruvian fans after the match with France, on June 21, 2018:

32.789 Zuschauer waren nach offiziellen Angaben im Stadion. Und es kommt selten vor, dass 32.789 Zuschauer so laut sind. Auf den Tribünen waren fast ausschließlich die roten und weißen Farben Perus zu sehen. Fans aus Frankreich hatten sich entweder gut versteckt oder waren inkognito angereist. Die Peruaner sangen und brüllten und pfiffen und tröteten 90 Minuten lang.

There were 32.789 [Peruvian] fans, according to official figures from the stadium. And it's very unusual that 32,789 were so noisy. In the stands, you could only see Peruvian red and white colors. French fans were well concealed or incognito. Peruvian fans sang, roared and whistled for 90 minutes.

Peruvian dedication to the national team went so far that one anonymous fan intentionally gained 25 kilos in order to purchase a handicapped ticket and fly to see the national team in Russia 2018.

In this 2018 World Cup bid, Peruvian fans took to Twitter to express their feelings about their team's farewell:

An image is worth a thousand words.
This is THE image of the first half.

Carrillo went to Russia as a great football player, he now leaves this last match as an idol, and the future will receive him as an international star. ??

That fan's tear is f***ing moving. ? What a shot. Go, Peru, always.

Australian fans, however, were criticized for shouting racists slurs at Peruvian player Luis Advíncula:

I'm still filled with rage and willing to put up a fight with each and every Australian who made the sound of an ape each time Advíncula had control of the ball.

The second goal which was scored by Paolo Guerrero was widely celebrated, as the Peruvian player had a long road to overcome to contest a sentence for testing positive for doping in November 2017:

Paolo kissing the badge and saying in very low voice “Peru… Peru…”, after scoring.

My World Cup favorite moment.

Mexican actor Gael García Bernal also put in his two cents:

What a passionate and fine goal, Guerrero!

There was even a reference to the Simpsons:

It wasn't the World Cup finale with Brazil, but the match with Australia.
Go, Peru!

And a final wish by Peruvian cartoonist Andrés Edery:

To be continued
America Cup, Qatar 2022, etc…

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