After a 3 – 1 loss against powerhouse Argentina in Buenos Aires on Friday, the Peruvian team is gearing up for their last World Cup eliminatory tournament appearance.
However, as a result of FIFA sanctions against the Peruvian Football Federation, the game will be played behind closed doors and without an audience. The sanctions, incurred after improper behavior by Peruvian fans at the Sept. 6 game against Uruguay, are lending a decidedly anti-climactic air to the proceedings.
This game also marks the last for the Peruvian national team’s coach, Uruguayan national Sergio Markarián. Markarián has decided to leave his post as Peru’s head coach despite the fact that Peruvian soccer authorities have expressed the desire that he stay. “The game against Bolivia will be my last. I feel sad, because you start to realize that you’re really leaving.”
Bolivia is also out of contention for a World Cup berth, and currently occupies the last place in FIFA South American World Cup rankings. Peru is third to last.
Despite the recent disappointments, Peruvian Football Federation head Manuel Burga has expressed hope for the future, saying that there are a number of talented young players who may help Perú achieve a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Peru will face off against Bolivia in Lima on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 9:00 pm in the Estadio Nacional. Both teams have already been eliminated from World Cup contention.