Peru has come in third place on the last two editions of Copa America. Quietly, without making any noise, they have assembled a team that is making strides in preparation for the qualifiers and eventually finding a spot for Russia 2018. But do they really have what it takes? Or was it that the last two editions of Copa America have been kind to them in the group lottery?
My personal opinion is that the Peruvian Federation has, over the last few years, taken their soccer with a bit more seriousness. When they handed the reigns of the team to former Velez Sarsfield Head, Argentine Ricardo Gareca, they also established a long term project, away from the sensationalist, short sighted, result driven policy they had had over the last 30 years. Let’s remember that Peru’s last appearance in the World Cup was in Spain, in 1982. And it wasn’t a very memorable display.
So there is an entire generation of Peruvians that have not seen their team play in FIFA’s main stage. And they have put in place a plan to revert that pattern and are trying to make history. Peru won their last Copa America in 1975, and with very sporadic lukewarm appearances since then, it wasn’t until their third place result in 2011 that people glanced at them. And it was a third place result in 2015 that made people notice.
That is the only reason we are actually writing about Peru today… Because had it not been for their last two bronze medals, they’d still be a very unnoticeable team, much like Bolivia or Venezuela.
Chile is the defending champion of Copa America. They earned that title after defeating (a sad performance by) Argentina during this year’s edition held in their home. That alone should give them the right to be a group head. However, the organizers decided for the marketing-wise approach and gave Mexico a group head. Mexico?
Mexico has only been participating since the 90s… and never won it.
Chile is more of the Centenario celebration than either Mexico or the USA combined! Heck, even Bolivia has won a Copa America, somthing Mexico hasn’t managed yet… And Mexico has made group head?
I bet this slap in the face will be additional motivation for the Chilean team to go very far on this Centenario edition of Copa America.
Just the thought of having the Copa America so accessible to me and my soccer fan friends is HUGE motivation. You see, when the last World Cup was being played, I tried going to Brazil to watch it live… but there were many factors that made it simply impossible to pull off:
- Financial: Traveling to Brazil ain’t cheap!
- Time: the World Cup lasts about a month. What?? Go to another country for a month? My Girlfriend would kill me.
- Work: let’s pretend I make a lot of money and my girlfriend was an independently wealthy lady who inherited millions from her grandfather… Who’s gonna feed the dog??
Anyway, going to Brazil just wasn’t an option. So the fact that the next best tourney is coming to America and I have several months to prepare, motivates the crap out of me! Let’s get registered now for some tickets!