How influential and important is
soccer futbol in Peru?
I offer the following post as proof.
On Tuesday, September 11, Peru played against Argentina in the round-robin tournament to determine who will qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Before this game, Peru was near the bottom of the nine-team standings and Argentina was in first place. The prevailing mood going into this contest was that Peru had little chance of winning.
So, two minutes into the game, the fans of the red-and-white had reason to celebrate as an Argentinian player committed a foul in the penalty area which meant that Peru was awarded a penalty kick.
Claudio Pizarro lined the ball and prepared to take his free shot. Now, I can’t point to any official statistics to back up this next statement, but 8 times out of 10, a penalty kick will result in a goal. It is rare (though not unheard of) for a free kick to not result in a score. So, fans all around Peru were eager to see their team go up by one point so early in the game.
Pizarro missed. He fired the ball low and to his left, but not hard. The goalie dived to his right and caught the ball.
The game wound up being a draw (1-1).
This missed penalty kick was so big in the national consciousness that when the next edition of El Otorongo, the insert that appears in every Friday edition of Peru 21 that contains nothing but editorial cartoons, came out, four of the fifteen cartoons made reference to Pizarro’s error.
This was the satirical drawing that graced the front page of El Otorongo (“The Jaguar”):
Many goalies prevent the score
The gentleman taking the penalty kick is Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Facing off against him in the goalkeeper area are various members of the working class as they participate in a strike (huelga and paro in Spanish) by doctors, teachers, and vendors at a Lima market called La Parada.
This type of cartoon, the “DVD Pirata”, appears every week in this insert. It always features the artist’s fanciful view of a contemporary issue by using the poster of a current movie. The title of this faux movie is “Gol! The Dream Ends.”
I must be honest and state that I do not know what movie the artist is riffing off of.
I know that this cartoon is referencing the futbol incident because the person in the drawing is wearing the uniform of the Peruvian national team. The white shirt with the red stripe is iconic here. My second clue is that the voice balloon uses the word “penal”, which can mean “penalty kick”.
I am going to guess that the person being caricatured is former president of Peru Alan Garcia, who is always in the news for one reason or another.
Google Translate was of little help to me when trying to parse together what Garcia was saying. The best I came up with was, “We should not dramatize. Sometimes it fails with a penalty.”
Pizarro makes a second appearance in cartoon form
This last cartoon features Pizarro himself with the comment, “If Ollanta explains Conga to me, I will explain to him how I missed the penalty kick.” (As always, I could be wrong.)
“Conga” refers to a mining project in the Cajamarca region Peru that has seen protests against it.
One missed shot by Pizarro results in four shots taken at him by the leading pens and pencils of Peruvian cartoonists.