Despite winning both the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas, Chile failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The South American nation finished sixth in the continent’s qualifying group, with only the top four teams securing a spot at the tournament and the fifth handed a chance to earn qualification through the inter-confederation play-offs.
Chile finished level on 26 points with Peru, but were eliminated by virtue of the fact that they had an inferior goal difference.
La Roja lost their final match to group-toppers Brazil 3-0, while Peru achieved a priceless 1-1 draw versus Colombia courtesy of a 77th-minute own goal from David Ospina.
That result was actually ideal for both teams in that game and towards the end of proceedings, they appeared to acknowledge that fact.
With barely a few minutes remaining, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao approached three Peru players – Renato Tapia, Christian Ramos and Miguel Araujo – and engaged in conversation with them.
Following that little chinwag, the game looked to the naked eye as if it altered quite dramatically.
Peru simply passed the ball around the back with little to no pressure applied by the Colombian forward line until the final whistle was blown.
After watching the footage below, it’s hard not to think that the players on the pitch were rather happy with a draw…
Video: Did Colombia & Peru team up to eliminate Chile?
Falcao tried to quash the idea that his intervention prevented Peru from looking to score a winner – which would have seen them finish above Colombia and automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Rayo Vallecano striker told reporters after the match, per ESPN: “Obviously we were aware of what was going on in the other games, we were playing with knowledge of the other results and, in that moment, [we wanted] to make that known.”
Tapia also discussed the matter following the game’s conclusion and denied that any pact had been made.
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“In the last five minutes, the Colombians approached us,” he said. “They knew what the situation was in the other games.
“So we managed the game as we had to… I spoke with Radamel, who told me we were both in, but it’s football and we play to win.”
We may never know what really happened that night in Lima, although neither nation was found guilty of any wrongdoing.