(above) Peru supporters have been accused of dirty tricks in their team's World Cup qualifying win over New Zealand. (AFP/Getty Images)


'They used every trick in the book': New Zealand complains about Peru fans' antics in World Cup qualifier


By Marissa Payne

For Peruvians, Wednesday night's 2-0 victory over New Zealand was cause for celebration, and fans celebrated so hard after the win that they reportedly triggered an alert on an earthquake app. Not only did Peru clinch the final spot in next year's World Cup, but it ended a 36-year drought.

For New Zealand, the night was less than ideal — and not just because it lost. The team is complaining that Peru violated the rules of fair play to win by engaging in a little psychological warfare before and during the game in Lima.

"They used every trick in the book to try to put us off," New Zealand defender Andrew Durante told the New Zealand Herald after the loss.

The "they" in this scenario wasn't the team, but Peru's fans, some of whom shined green laser pointers in the eyes of New Zealand players during the game. Several spectators on social media pointed out the green lights on Twitter, calling their use "shameful" and "disgusting."

The lasers came after two other reported incidents near the team's hotel rattled the players the night before the game. The first, according to Newshub, involved three military jets adorned with the message "Vamos Peru" executing low-altitude maneuvers over JW Marriott. The second, according to the Sun, involved fireworks being set off at 3:30 a.m. outside the hotel.

"We had a strong mind-set that we weren't going to let any of that affect us," Durante said, underlining that the team doesn't want to use any of that as an excuse. "We knew that they would throw everything at us, and they did, and we rode the storm. It was a huge challenge. [Peru is] a very good footballing nation . . . [with] the support of the nation behind them. It was always going to be a huge task. . . . But over the 90 minutes, they were the better team."

With Peru's berth secured, all 32 teams have been determined for next year's World Cup in Russia. On Thursday, FIFA announced the four pots that will be used when making the draw Dec. 1. They are:

Pot 1
• Russia
• Germany
• Brazil
• Portugal
• Argentina
• Belgium
• Poland
• France

Pot 2
• Spain
• Peru
• Switzerland
• England
• Colombia
• Mexico
• Uruguay
• Croatia

Pot 3
• Denmark
• Iceland
• Costa Rica
• Sweden
• Tunisia
• Egypt
• Senegal
• Iran

Pot 4
• Serbia
• Nigeria
• Australia
• Japan
• Morocco
• Panama
• Korea Republic
• Saudi Arabia

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, where she focuses on what she calls the "cultural anthropological" side of sports, a.k.a. "mostly the fun stuff."