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.
If you want to watch Peru play a competitive match, World Cup qualifying games currently offer the best viewing. At the time of writing, Peru has played seven games in the South American qualifying group (click link for latest table standings at fifa.com), with nine left to play. Only four of the remaining games will take place in Lima (dates are subject to change):
- Oct 12, 2012 -- Bolivia vs. Peru
- Oct 16, 2012 -- Paraguay vs. Peru
- Mar 22, 2013 -- PERU vs. Chile
- Jun 7, 2013 -- PERU vs. Ecuador
- Jun 11, 2013 -- Colombia vs. Peru
- Sept 8, 2013 -- PERU vs. Uruguay
- Sept 10, 2013 -- Venezuela vs. Peru
- Oct 11, 2013 -- Argentina vs. Peru
- Oct 15, 2013 -- PERU vs. Bolivia
Of the four remaining home matches, the Chile and Ecuador confrontations are particularly attractive. Peru desperately needs a few victories to have any chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and both these games will be vital. Ecuador and Chile are also Peru’s two main soccer rivals, so expect a heated atmosphere and plenty of passion on the field.
If Peru still has a chance to qualify in September 2013, the game against Uruguay will be huge. Even if qualification is no longer possible, the chance to see Uruguay (currently a powerful force in international soccer) makes the game an attractive prospect for soccer fans.
The second 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.