Gareca hails Peru for securing a World Cup spot in CONMEBOL qualifiers
In CONMEBOL World Cup qualification, Peru edged Colombia for a playoff position, but Chile's golden period may be coming to an end.
After Tuesday's 2-0 win againstParaguay
, Peru is one match away from making back-to-back World Cup finals berths, and head coach Ricardo Gareca praised his team, which appeared destined to lose out six months ago.
With the win over Paraguay, La Blanquirraja won fifth place in CONMEBOL World Cup qualification, ahead of Colombia and Chile, who were both eliminated.
With the win,Peru
will face the Asian Football Confederation's fifth-ranked squad, either Australia or the United Arab Emirates, in a one-off playoff in Doha in June. On June 13 or 14, a one-off inter-confederation playoff will be held in Doha.
After back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Bolivia and Argentina in October, Gareca's team appeared to be a long shot to finish fifth, but they rebounded to earn 13 points out of a potential 18 in their last six qualifiers.
“We didn't start the qualifiers well, but we rebounded well," Gareca told reporters. "It gave us the possibility to get to the playoff spot.
"I have to congratulate the boys and thank the people for the support. It was incredible. When I renewed my contract, this is what I wanted."
After taking over as national team coach in March 2015 and guiding Peru to its first World Cup in 36 years in 2018, as well as the 2019 Copa America final, Gareca has received widespread plaudits in Peru.
Colombia's head coach, Reinaldo Rueda, has a distinct perspective, having guided two teams through qualification, both of which failed to qualify for the World Cup. Rueda took overColombia
in January after being ousted as Chile's coach early in qualification.
"I think that not achieving the goal is a shame for Colombian football," Rueda told reporters after Colombia's 1-0 win in Venezuela which was not enough. "It is a very strong frustration. It was added, but the great result was not given."
"I think it is very clear that my contract was subject to qualifying for the World Cup, so it is an evaluation that the board will have to do, of the work we have done."
As a result of their setback, Chile has missed the last two World Cups, putting an end to the international careers of numerous members of its golden generation, including Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, and Eduardo Vargas.
After Chile's 2-0 defeat against Uruguay at home, current coach
"I think some players from the 'golden generation' still have something to give
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