Video footage has emerged of Peru and Colombia players apparently conspiring to fix their FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia qualifier to end in a draw – a result which benefitted both sides.
The teams played out a 1-1 draw in the Estadio Nacional de Lima in the Peruvian capital on Wednesday. James Rodriguez put Colombia 1-0 up on 56 minutes before Peru leveled 20 minutes later through Paolo Guerrero.
That result saw Colombia finish fourth in the South America qualifying group, gaining an automatic place for Russia 2018, with fifth-place Peru gaining a play-off match against New Zealand.
La imagen de las Eliminatorias es de @PasoaPaso: Falcao convenciendo uno x uno a los peruanos de arreglar el empate en el final del partido. pic.twitter.com/RBNuumoJFd
— Lucas Beltramo (@LucasBeltramo) October 11, 2017
Both teams advanced at the expense of rivals Chile, who lost 3-0 to Brazil in Sao Paulo on the same night in a match that kicked off at the same time, and finished sixth on goal difference.
Footage has surfaced that suggests Colombia captain Radamel Falcao knew of the fact Chile were losing in Brazil and clandestinely told Peru players, with his hand covering his mouth, to make sure the result stayed level.
Although a win for Peru would have given them automatic qualification, had they conceded one more goal they would have been out altogether. Commentators have since referred to the incident as the “Pact of Lima.”
After the match, Falcao revealed to reporters that he did in fact make the Chile result known to Peru players, but remained adamant that both sides fought for the win over 90 minutes.
“We knew what was happening in the other matches, we were playing with [the knowledge of] the other results and in that moment [I tried] to transmit that [to Peru]. Nothing more,” the former Manchester United striker told reporters, the Independent reported.
“I think Peru has been a worthy rival, they fought for 90 minutes just like us. The match was very tight. We suffered a lot but in the end we did it.”
Peru midfielder Renato Tapia attested that Colombian players approached his team about the draw, telling Panamericana TV: “In the last five minutes, the Colombians approached us. They knew what the situation was in the other games.”
“So we managed the game as we needed to… I spoke with Radamel, who told me we were both qualified [as things stood].”