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Peru qualifies for U-17 World Soccer Championships in South Korea

It has been 26 years since a Peruvian football team qualified for the big stage at a World Cup or any other global championship tournament. The last time was in 1981 when Peru’s first selection earned its ticket to the World Cup hosted by Spain the following year.

On Sunday the under-17 selection ended this drought with a 1:1 tie against Argentina, finishing the South American championships in fourth place. Only the four best teams qualified for the U-17 FIFA World Cup held in South Korea in August and September.

Peru needed the help of Colombia in the final matchday who crushed Venezuela 5:0. A Venezuelan victory would have eliminated Peru’s chances.

Jairo Hernandez scored the equalizer by hammering a penalty shot into the net shortly before halftime, after Argentina’s Fernandez had scored the go-ahead goal in the 21st minute.

Brazil was crowned the South American champs after finishing the final round undefeated with 4 wins and one tie. Colombia and Argentina finished second and also assured a spot in the upcoming tournament in South Korea.

Venezuela finished fifth and host Ecuador in sixth place. As a consolation prize, all these teams will participate in the Pan-American games held in Brazil in June.

Although the Peruvian youngsters also participated in the last World Cup in 2005, they represented the host country and didn’t actually have to qualify for this tournament. Mexico won the cup that year and is the reigning under-17 world champ.

South American U-17 championship – Final Round results:

16/03: Ecuador 1-2 Colombia
16/03: Argentina 0-2 Brazil
16/03: Peru 2-1 Venezuela
18/03: Ecuador 0-1 Venezuela
18/03: Argentina 2-1 Colombia
18/03: Peru 0-4 Brazil
20/03: Brazil 4-0 Venezuela
20/03: Argentina 2-0 Ecuador
20/03: Peru 0-3 Colombia
23/03: Colombia 0-0 Brazil
23/03: Argentina 1-1 Venezuela
23/03: Peru 2-2 Ecuador
25/03: Colombia 5-0 Venezuela
25/03: Brazil 5-2 Ecuador
25/03: Peru 1-1 Argentina

Final Standings:

The first four teams have qualified for the 2007 World Cup in South Korea.

Wolfy Becker