I remember the time when my kids were small, and I took them to the Monumental Stadium to watch a football game. Peru versus Argentina were playing.  Messi was one of the players.  A complete genius.  My children were beautifully dressed, with their Peruvian t-shirts, Peruvian caps, Peruvian shoes, and you name it, they were really representatives of our country.

We sang the National Anthem, so proudly and happily.  We knew it was going to be difficult, but we had hope.  Once it started, it became a big disappointment and it was so painful to see Peru play.  We suffered each minute, my children cried when we lost 3-1 and I remember that we had to go back home walking as the traffic was unbelievable.  A complete disgrace.

This was the beginning of the divorce of football and me.  I had always loved this sport, I think that there is nothing like it.  The passion, the way it puts people together, the food we have with friends and the drinks and the way we celebrate when our country scores.  All this was forgotten for a long time in Peru.

I started watching English football as my husband is English and a complete fan of Manchester United.  At least I had the hope of watching a country that I love during the World Cup.  Unfortunately England was eliminated in the first round….another disappointment.

Until something happened.   When Peru started playing with new players, young ones, when you could see them practicing and not partying, and when they remained humble….it was a good start.  When the time came for them to play and I saw them singing our National Anthem with their hearts and ready to give everything on the field, I was intrigued….was this Peru?   I didn’t believe in the team.  I just didn’t watch any match because as many Peruvians, I knew we were going to lose.  I didn’t want to see my country lose once more.

But we started in the competitions and I cannot describe the feeling that I had watching the game with my sons, 24 and 25 now, with my parents who are really old and with my English husband with his Peruvian t-shirt, telling me….Peru is playing really well!!!

The night we classified for the World Cup was magical.  My sons crying this time, but of happiness, all of us jumping in the streets of Miraflores.  Hugging people that were complete strangers in the streets, all of us with the same feeling….WE MADE IT!!

I wish I could repeat the feelings of that night.    I wish Peru could be united as that wonderful night.  I really can’t wait to see my country play and show the world how good we can be.  The road is difficult, but not impossible.   At least I know that this time our players will put all their hearts to make a wonderful dream happen!! Arriba Peru!