Alexis Sanchez will miss the 2018 World Cup after Chile failed to quality for the tournament.
Chile were on course for Russia during Tuesday night’s final round of CONMEBOL qualifiers until Peru equalised against Colombia in the 76th minute.
As a result, Peru secured a play-off spot and Chile were left to say goodbye to their World Cup dreams.
Yet Peru’s 1-1 draw with Colombia has attracted plenty of controversy due to what happened in the final minutes of the match.
Fully aware that a draw would suit both countries, Colombia’s Radamel Falcao told Peru’s players of the situation; with Chile trailing Brazil 3-0 and Colombia and Peru tied at 1-1, both teams were heading for their desired outcomes.
“I spoke to Falcao and he told me that we were both ahead [in qualifying],” Peru’s Renato Tapia said, per AS.
In the final few seconds of the match, Peru’s players passed the ball around the defence and midfield uncontested, both teams simply awaiting the final whistle.
So Chile will be among the high-profile absentees from Russia. La Roja have been the kings of South America in recent years, winning the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, so the fact that they failed to qualify highlights how competitive CONMEBOL qualification has become.
How Chile have reacted to Peru 1-1 Colombia
Yet Chile are unwilling to go down without a fight.
According to Chilean daily La Tercera, and brought to our attention by AS, the Chile Football Federation (ANFP) is considering an appeal against their elimination from qualifying.
The ANFP believe a case of match-fixing could be investigated after Peru and Colombia appeared to ease off in the final seconds of their match.
Chile can refer to paragraph 6.3.2 of FIFA’s guidelines on match-fixing, which covers “unlawfully influencing the course or results of matches.”
The punishment for such an offence, as revealed in the text, includes “expulsion from a competition, relegation to a lower division, a points deduction and /or the return of awards.”
What Falcao said afterwards
It comes after Falcao’s admission that he informed Peru’s players of the scores in other qualifying matches.
“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),” the Monaco striker said, per the Telegraph.
It would seem the story is far from over just yet.