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“Peru is a wake, a gloomy mood is breathed in the homeland, a national sadness. There is no noise… People take it to mean that Gareca is leaving, that a brilliant cycle is over and that it will take another thirty-six years to return to a World Cup”, says colleague and friend Ricardo Montoya. He continues: “Getting a great technical director is very difficult. Getting one that also has the class of Ricardo, almost impossible. And there is no replacement of players. Football represented the only joy in the country, now not even that ”. He does not stop, his sore monologue continues: “Gareca gave us back our game identity, he made us competitive, we went to a World Cup, we reached a Copa América final, in another we came out third and in one more, fourth, we cut his streak winning Chile 3 to 0, he discovered players where there were none…. He did a lot.”
“The Great Depression”, headlined the prestigious sports outlet Dechalaca.com. And he expanded: “The drama of an entire country, not to say present in the World Cup, remains latent and it will take time to overcome it.”
The Selection (with capital letters) was the adored chiche of the population. And he crashed to the ground, blasted into a million pieces. In Colombia and Chile the elimination caused frustration, but not even compare. Both teams were already bad and extreme unction was possible. Instead, Peru raised the illusions to the stratosphere. And when you had to show up, the team showed up. On top of that, he had the playoff against Australia, which in its Asian group had just drawn 2-2 with Oman and lost 2-0 to Japan (in Sydney) and 1-0 to Saudi Arabia. I mean, what was Australia…? Apparently, nothing according to the press and the environment. Everything came together: the euphoria, clinging to that beautiful rope that was the National Team, the idea of going to win the World Cup again -this time in Qatar- with forty or fifty thousand Peruvians, the underestimation of the rival, the absolute security of qualify… And a penalty broke everything. Why, Lord…? Why us…? Can’t you turn back time, turn back this movie and kick another…? Or that Valera himself throw it to Redmayne’s left…?
(Also: Luis Fernando Suárez takes stock of the classification of Costa Rica)
No, impossible, the World Cup dream is already in the hands of God. The worst thing is that neither the referee nor anyone can be blamed.
As in the Titanic story, the drama unfolded quietly. First there was no Ruidíaz, then Australia came to the playoffs and not the Emirates, which was more convenient, lastly, Yotún’s injury, and stirring up all that stew, success. Fatal. Without Yotún, which is the compass, the inspiration was in charge of the other vertices of the triangle. Carrillo, surely without having reached his best competitive pace, did not provide any light. And they lowered the lever for Cueva, he was in the dark. There was not a hint of football, not a drop of creativity. Because Australia was not beaten by running, but by playing. The only surviving arrests were made by Édison Flores because he is very clear that soccer is with goals, and where he can rest his instep on the ball, he takes out his rifle. Wherever you are.
The creators of a team are the engine of the car, if they don’t work the body doesn’t move. And it didn’t move. Sometimes a saving header appears, a bomb from outside the area, a lucky rebound. This time nothing happened. And in the prisons that unexpected goalkeeper appeared, enormous, with his beard like a Protestant pastor or a Norwegian lumberjack who moved insistently, disturbingly. It was the ghost of the movie. I was trying to confuse. And she confused. He misled. Australian coach Graham Arnold had that card up his sleeve and played it in the 120th minute. Well played, he’s in the World Cup.
Andew Redmayne, the goalkeeper for Australia 🇦🇺, threw Pedro Gallese’s bottle 🇵🇪 with the penalty kicks.pic.twitter.com/LioDC7HhLK
— VarskySports (@VarskySports) June 15, 2022
Arnold thought the same as Marcello Lippi in the 2006 World Cup: France has a 70% chance of winning and we have a 30% chance. But if we go to penalties we are 50 and 50. That is how Italy won. And Gareca, what…? El Flaco is already beyond good and evil in Peru. Impossible to question it. Doing a historical retrospective: Is it better than Didí…? Better than Tim…? More than the two together…? Difficult to answer those questions, which seem disrespectful, but have a logical basis. Rarely does the work of a coach emerge so clearly in a football process. As time passes, Gareca’s work in Peru will be etched in marble. He generated that state of collective euphoria, of national happiness.
How to blame him for something…? Without great elements, he made Peru a little clock that always gave the exact time. Until one day it stopped. The end.
For the time