If you’d like to watch live soccer in Peru, there are a few options that stand out from the crowd. For club soccer, the big Lima rivalries provide a charged atmosphere and intense competition. El Clásico Peruano, featuring Alianza Lima versus Universitario de Deportes, is the main club rivalry in Peru. Both teams also have a lesser rivalry with Sporting Cristal, another of the big Lima clubs.
The other option is international soccer, which we’ll look at here. The Peruvian national team struggles to make an impact on the world soccer scene, but it’s a struggle full of passion and some attractive head-to-head confrontations...
Peru Match Options
The Peruvian national team schedule comprises friendly matches (warm-up games) and full competitive matches. Friendlies can be worth watching if the opposition is good, but competitive matches are more interesting, especially from a neutral perspective.
Games against Ecuador and Chile -- Peru’s two main soccer rivals -- are always heated affairs with a special atmosphere.
Peru failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, so international fixtures are scarce at the moment. You can see the confirmed schedule of games, both home and away, at our regularly updated listing of all Peru's national team fixtures.
With the World Cup out of the equation, one other option for top-flight competitive matches is the Copa América, a tournament contested every four years between members of the CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) group of national teams. Peru last hosted the Copa América in 2004; the next cup will take place in Chile in July 2015, so you could always hop from Peru down to Chile to see a few games.
Peru National Team Stadium
Peru normally plays its home games at the Estadio Nacional in Lima (current capacity 40,000). If for any reason the Estadio Nacional is unavailable or undergoing renovations, major games are sometimes played at the larger Estadio Monumental, the home ground of Lima’s Universitario de Deportes soccer club (capacity 80,000).
Peru sometimes plays friendly or exhibition games outside of Lima. Cusco’s high-altitude Estadio Garcilaso de la Vega is one alternative, alongside Estadio Max Augustín in Iquitos.
Buying Tickets for Peru's Home Games
Tickets for Peru’s home games are normally sold through the Tu Entrada website (for most, if not all, Peru internationals fixtures). You’ll also find Tu Entrada ticket booths in Plaza Vea and Vivanda supermarkets dotted throughout Lima (you can see a full list of locations here). Alternatively, you might be able to buy tickets directly from the Estadio Nacional box office.
Supermarket ticket booths are good options for buying tickets, but be prepared for long queues. Tickets normally go on general sale a month (at the very earliest) to one week before each game. A fan loyalty system has also been used in recent games, wherein fans who buy tickets for one game have first option to buy tickets for the following match.
Ticket prices vary greatly depending on the competition being played and the seats available. For the Peru versus Argentina World Cup qualifying match on September 11, 2012, tickets ranged from 55 to 330 nuevos soles (US$21 to $127).
Beware of buying tickets from touts outside any stadium. The prices are often exorbitant and there’s a chance your costly ticket will be a fake.
Stadium Atmosphere and Safety Concerns
Crowd violence isn’t a big problem in Peru, but there have been some serious incidents in recent years. These incidents, however, typically occur between rival club sides. International matches are normally safe, even during potentially tense matches between Peru and close rivals Ecuador and Chile.
Getting home after a game can be difficult, with a large number of exiting fans competing for limited seats in taxis and minibuses. If possible, arrange a pick-up before you go to the game.