Peru have reached the World Cup for the first time since 1982 after defeating New Zealand 2-0 thanks to goals from Jefferson Farfan and Christian Ramos. This makes Peru the final team to book their ticket to Russia.
The result, which saw Los Incas secure their fifth World Cup finals appearance, sparked celebrations across the country with this Thursday, November 16th, declared a national holiday to "facilitate the natural celebration of this qualification". Even Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took to social media to share his joy after the match.
"We waited more than 35 years to be in a World Cup again. Thank you warriors for giving us this joy," he wrote.
The second leg, played in front of a capacity crowd of 40,000 fans at Lima's Estadio Nacional, was the decider after the first leg of the Oceania-South America playoff in Wellington ended in a 0-0 draw. Farfan struck in the 27th minute and Ramos scored in the 65th to secure Peru's place at the World Cup finals for the first time in 35 years.
"It's a big emotion, beyond making history," a tearful Christian Cueva, the gifted left winger who had a hand in creating both goals, told reporters as the players completed a boisterous lap of honor. "It's a child's dream. We have not broken this bad streak for so long. Now I'm going to celebrate."
jt/pfd (AFP, Reuters)