Peru, the last team to make it to Russia 2018 has become the first of the 32 World Cup teams to be visited with disciplinary action. The team’s World Cup hopes were dealt a huge blow when captain and all-time record goal scorer, Paolo Guerrero was banned for one year on Friday after failing an anti-doping test for cocaine.
According to Reuters, the 33-year-old striker, who plays for Flamengo in Brazil, had been provisionally suspended by world governing body FIFA after the drug, classified as a stimulant, was found in his system after Peru’s 0-0 draw away to Argentina in a World Cup qualifier in October.
“The player tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine, a substance included in WADA’s 2017 Prohibited List under the class ‘S6. Stimulants’, following a doping control test conducted after the match,” FIFA said in a statement.
“By testing positive for a prohibited substance, the player has violated article 6 of the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations and, as such, contravened article 63 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.” Peru qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 by beating New Zealand in a two-legged playoff. Guerrero missed both those matches.
His ban will be back-dated to November 3 and will apply to international, domestic and official friendly fixtures. Guerrero, who used to play for German club Bayern Munich, made his international debut in 2004 and has 83 caps, scoring 32 goals. He helped Peru finish third in the 2011 and 2015 Copa Americas and was leading scorer in both tournaments.
He also helped Brazilian club Corinthians win FIFA’s World Club Cup in 2012, scoring the winning goal in the final against Premier League side Chelsea. He joined Flamengo in 2015 and has been prolific in front of goal, scoring 42 goals for the Rio de Janeiro club.
Peru are drawn in Group C of the World Cup along with France, Australia and Denmark. The two leaders of the group will draw their Round of 16 opposition from Nigeria’s Group D. Group Leader of Group D will face runners-up of Group C while the leader of Group C will face the second-placed team in Group D.