Copa America Centenario: Can Peru become relevant once again?
Peru before their game against Ecuador | Freek Bouw - VAVEL USA

Once again, Peru is the quarterfinals of Copa America Centenario. Surprisingly, La Blanquirroja made this accomplishment by ending up first in group B.

Full of young and fresh talent, let’s see what the team head coached by Ricardo Gareca did so far.

Incan controversy

After defeating Haiti and having a draw against Ecuador, Peru went all along to Foxborough to face one of the favorites to win the title: Brazil. At Gillette Stadium last Sunday, Gareca’s boys had a rough time holding the ‘Verdeamarela’ in a successful way.

And so it came that during the second half, the Incans concreted the achievement by a goal that sparked controversy made by Raúl Ruidíaz. A clear hand was shown even during replay after the cross pass by Andy Polo.

Raul Ruidíaz's goal is considered by many as the most controversial goal of the tournament. (SOURCE: ladoce.com.mx)
Raul Ruidíaz's goal is considered by many as the most controversial goal of the tournament. (SOURCE: ladoce.com.mx)

After the surprise, the Brazilians couldn’t hang on with desperation and offered more opportunities to the Blanquirroja. Sealing a mortal and historic defeat against Peru after 41 years.

Paolo Guerrero, the star; Christian Cueva, the one that shines with own light

During the group stage, Peru faced big time after the results against Haiti Ecuador and Brazil. During those matches, Gareca’s team went on with two main players that fought perfect way.

First, one was head captain and forward Paolo Guerrero. In this tournament, the 32-year-old Flamengo striker has shown his leadership skills by being the glue the Incan team needed.

At the debut match against Haiti, Guerrero surprised once again after making a great goal. Another one for his illustrious Copa America moments.

But another one who has made an impact in the Peruvian team is number '10' Christian Cueva. A former member of Mexico's Toluca and now the newest player for Sao Paulo, the 24-year-old midfielder has been making a name for himself during the last 12 months.

Cueva was the breakout player of last year's Copa America. And his goal against Ecuador, and performances against teams like Haiti and Brazil, made him one of the most valuable members of the team.

Colombia's nightmare at Copa

Back in 2011, Peru and Colombia squared off during that year's Copa America in Argentina. The Colombians came into the game as a big favorite during the match played in the city of Cordoba. With many stars on the team lead by forward Radamel Falcao, the team led during that time by Hernán Darío Gómez , was clearly the beloved team at the bookmakers

On the other side, Peru came with a low profile team led by Uruguayan Sergio Markarián. The Incans came to the quarterfinals after having a draw with Uruguay, defeating Mexico and losing against Chile during the group stage.

At game time, Colombia dominated at each and every moment. However, a missed penalty by Falcao would despair the ‘Cafeteros’ and give Peru all the opportunities.

And so it was, during stoppage time, Peru got the score after a brilliant long range shot by veteran midfielder Carlos Lobatón. A few minutes later, Juan Manuel Vargas would associate in a perfect way with Paolo Guerrero to settle the victory. Colombian fans still remember that upset and they will try to get their return at MetLife Stadium this Friday.

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