Shattered Peru's cure for heartbreak amid 'cold-blooded' Socceroos act

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Seen here, Peru fans left devastated after the Socceroos ruined their nation's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.
Peru fans were left devastated after the Socceroos ruined their nation's hopes of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Pic: Getty

Hug each other to cure the sorrow.

That's the advice given to Peruvian football fans as they come to terms with their country's shock exit from World Cup qualification at the hands of the underdog Socceroos.

The football-mad nation was plunged into mourning after replacement goalkeeper – and new Australian hero – Andrew Redmayne blocked Peru's sixth spot kick to give the Roos a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win and the 31st spot at this year's World Cup finals.

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In 2005, Uruguayan superstar Alvaro Recoba famously declared his country had a "divine right" to be at the World Cup finals before the Socceroos saw them off with John Aloisi's shirt-removing penalty.

Their South American neighbours weren't quite as arrogant or presumptuous 17 years later, but La Blanquirroja were still expected to get past an Australia side that had staggered into the play-off after missing automatic qualification.

On the back of their first World Cup appearance in 36 years at Russia 2018, in which they beat Australia in the group stage, and a semi-final appearance at last year's Copa America, many young fans had only known success.

'Worst game in months' sees Peru crash out

According to football blogger Miguel Villegas, from the esteemed El Comercio newspaper, they assumed the run would never end.

"We played the worst game in months, didn't have any standout performances," he wrote.

"It broke all of our hearts, especially the youngest, who only knew the best version of the national team: the team that never lost.

"That was not Peru, at least the Peru of the last leg of the qualifiers, before Australia.

"The team of fears had returned, without depth on the sides.

"Our midfield, so slow and imprecise, dedicated to the brand but empty of ideas and without a pass.

"Our penalties, again, terrible. We had the chance to win the shootout with (Martin) Boyle's missed penalty but (Luis) Advíncula missed and (Alex) Valera missed."

Pictured here, a shattered Peru fan after their penalty shootout defeat in the World Cup play-offs final against Australia.
Peruvian fans were left shattered after their penalty shootout defeat in the World Cup play-offs final against Australia. Pic: Getty

Villegas praised the Socceroos for taking the game to Peru, calling them "tough, practical and cold- blooded' and awarding Aaron Mooy man-of-the-match status.

But he thoughts quickly returned to his distraught countrymen.

"There is now an impossible mission for everyone: try to win back the hearts of the children, so happy dressed as Peruvians this afternoon, who today just learned that we, although it seemed impossible, are losing," he continued.

"Peru will sleep today with sadness. Hug each other to cure the sorrow."

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