Saturday, July 04, 2015

Excellent Peruvians and the coming final

One of the few positive aspects of this Copa America has been Peru. They were in a difficult group with favourites Brazil and Colombia, as well as a difficult Venezuelan side, where I do not think many gave them much of a chance. There is nevertheless no doubt that they were the best playing side of that group, and deservedly took second spot after a lucky Brazil. In the quarterfinals they beat Bolivia and in the semifinal gave Chile an excellent fight, only to lose 2-1.
As the news focus more on the coming final, few noticed that Peru beat Paraguay 2-0 to take third place in the tournament. This is a well-deserved result for a country that for many year has been under-performing. The new coach, the Argentine Ricardo Gareca, has organized the team, playing good offensive football, and expectations will surely be high as they enter the World Cup qualifiers this fall.

In the meantime we all justifiably have high expectations to the final between Chile and Argentina: two teams under two Argentine coaches that will want to attack and have outstandingly skilled players. It has all the ingredients to be a fantastic match, but I certainly fear that it will descend into ugly nationalism and unfair play.
I hope not.

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