Peru to focus on good finish after Farfan injury scare
By TALES AZZONI
SOCHI, Russia (AP) The disappointment Peru felt about being eliminated from the World Cup was nothing compared to the concern about Jefferson Farfan after a scary head injury.
Farfan was knocked unconscious after a hard collision with a teammate during practice on Saturday. On Monday, Peru's players and coach shared their relief that Farfan is recovering.
"It was a scare," coach Ricardo Gareca said. "It was a collision that concerned us. We have to recognize and be grateful for the immediate reaction from our medical staff and for the preparedness of Russia in this situation. He immediately received the attention that he needed so he could recover and be stabilized after being unconscious for a few minutes."
Farfan was rushed to a hospital following the collision with one of the team's goalkeepers during training at the team's base in Moscow. Practice was cut short while medical staff attended to the player on the field. Test results showed that Farfan's injury did not require additional treatment or surgery, but he was expected to remain hospitalized for observation at least until Tuesday.
"It was a delicate situation during those moments. It was complicated," Peru forward Paolo Guerrero said. "Thank God that he is fine. We are all relieved."
Farfan stayed in Moscow with his family and members of the medical staff while the team traveled to Sochi.
Gareca said Farfan was in good spirits and probably could have left the hospital already, but Russian protocol for this type of injury was to keep him in the hospital for 72 hours.
"We understand that it's logical to prioritize the player's health," the coach said.
Farfan, who plays for Lokomotiv Moscow, started for Peru in the World Cup opener against Denmark and entered the match against France at halftime. Peru plays its final group match on Tuesday against Australia.
"It's a big absence for our team," Guerrero said. "He is the guy who helps bring life to the group, who is always joking around. We hope he can recover quickly."
Peru, making its first World Cup appearance in 36 years, was eliminated after consecutive 1-0 losses. The South Americans played well in both matches but couldn't capitalize on their scoring chances.
"We want to give at least some happiness to the Peruvian fans who have been here supporting us," Guerrero said. "We don't want to leave empty-handed."
Australia can still advance, but it needs to defeat Peru and hope France beats Denmark in the other Group C match.
The big question among Peruvians is whether Gareca will remain as coach after the World Cup. He has enjoyed widespread support from fans back home despite the losses in Russia. Guerrero said the players also were behind Gareca, but the coach said he was not yet ready to discuss his future.
"I need to thank everyone for this support," Gareca said. "But right now it's not the right time to talk about this. I still don't have an answer. I'm only focused on tomorrow's match."
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Updated June 25, 2018