Peru were already out of the World Cup before they beat Australia 2-0 on Tuesday but the victory was not enough to shake a bitter taste in the mouth of man of the match Andre Carrillo.
The winger scored a lovely first half goal and was a constant threat to Australia’s bigger and burlier defenders. However, losses in Peru’s first two Group C games to France and Denmark doomed the South Americans to an early exit from Russia.
“We knew it would be hard but we showed we have a high level of football,” Carrillo said. “We are slightly bitter because we’re better than Denmark and at times we were even better than France. Now we just need to look to the future and our next objectives.”
“I would rather play worse and qualify but right now Peru is happy with us and we need to continue to work,” he added. “We are going to take this win back home with us. It might not have been our best or most beautiful match but we won.”
Coach Ricardo Gareca, who has become a hero in Peru after guiding them to their first World Cup since 1982, was more sanguine and candidly dismissed suggestions his team were unlucky to be knocked out.
“I think it is fair, that’s the way it is, right now I am not looking at luck, they qualified and that’s fine. I have nothing to add,” Gareca said.
“I do think that our group was quite tough, quite even. In general I’d say that France won fair and square and Denmark is an effective team so I think the result is what it is and I have nothing to say against it.”
Gareca, who must now decide whether to continue at the helm, nevertheless lauded his team for their response in their meaningless game against the Australians.
“We had to be strong and overcome two consecutive losses,” he said. “We lost two matches and won the third game but we expected something bigger in the grand scheme of things.”
“I want to congratulate the players. At the very least we have given the fans one victory. They have been behind us all the way.”