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The National Sport of Peru is Soccer.

Soccer in Peru is passionate, deeply ingrained in the nation’s identity, and cherished by fans of all ages.

To learn more about sports culture in Peru, read our article about the most popular sports in Peru.

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#1 History of Soccer

  • 1902: First recorded soccer match played by a Peruvian team at the Lima Cricket and Football Club.
  • 1927: Formation of the Peruvian Soccer Federation (Federación Peruana de Fútbol or FPF).
  • 1930: Peru participates in the inaugural FIFA World Cup hosted by Uruguay.
  • 1936: Peru wins its first international soccer title at the Berlin Olympics.
  • 1957: Inauguration of the Copa América, with Peru as one of the founding members.
  • 1970: Peru reaches the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
  • 1975: Peru wins the Copa América championship for the first time.

#2 Culture and Traditions

Soccer is integral to Peru’s cultural identity, uniting people from diverse backgrounds and fostering national pride. At the core of this passion are the intense rivalries between clubs, notably the famous “Superclásico” between Lima-based clubs Alianza Lima and Universitario de Deportes.

Peruvian soccer has its own unique festivals and rituals. One example is the “Torneo de Futbolín,” a street soccer tournament held annually in Andahuaylillas, Cusco. Participants dress up in traditional attire and engage in a lively competition that showcases the deep bond between culture, community, and the sport.

International matches, particularly World Cup qualifiers, bring the nation together, with fans gathering in public squares and homes to cheer on the national team. These events provide an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to experience the fervor of Peruvian soccer and create lasting memories.

#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment

📕 Rules & Gameplay

  • Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
  • Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
  • Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
  • Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second last opponent when the ball is played to them.
  • Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.

⚙️ Equipment & Gear

  • Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
  • Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
  • Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
  • Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
  • Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.

#4 Modern Development of Soccer

The evolution of soccer in Peru has been marked by the growth of its domestic league, Liga 1, and the resurgence of the national team. Improved infrastructure, investment in youth development, and stronger governance have contributed to the progress of the sport in the country.

Peruvian soccer has embraced technological advancements, including the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology and modern training methods, to enhance the quality of the game and maintain fairness. These innovations have elevated the local league’s profile and strengthened its competitiveness.

Recent years have seen the rise of a new generation of talented players, both at the club and international levels. These players have caught the attention of international scouts and clubs, leading to an increasing presence of Peruvian soccer stars in foreign leagues. This trend has raised the sport’s stature and popularity in the country, inspiring younger generations to embrace the beautiful game.

#5 Soccer and the Olympics

Soccer has been a part of the Olympic Games since its early days, with the men’s competition first taking place in 1900. Peru made a lasting impression in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, winning the gold medal in an unforgettable campaign marked by thrilling matches and captivating performances by the Peruvian team.

The Olympic stage has provided opportunities for nations like Peru to showcase their soccer talent, gaining global recognition and contributing to the sport’s growth and development. The Peruvian success at the 1936 Olympics remains a significant milestone in the country’s soccer history and continues to inspire the nation’s passion for the sport.

#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements

  1. Teófilo Cubillas: Considered one of the greatest Peruvian soccer players of all time, Cubillas scored 10 goals across three FIFA World Cup appearances and was a vital player in Peru’s 1975 Copa América success. He was also awarded the South American Footballer of the Year in 1972.
  2. Hugo Sotil: An integral part of the national team during the 1970s, Sotil represented Peru in the 1970 and 1978 FIFA World Cup tournaments and played a crucial role in winning the 1975 Copa América. He is also remembered for his successful stint at FC Barcelona.
  3. Claudio Pizarro: Widely regarded as one of the best Peruvian players in recent history, Pizarro had an illustrious career in European club football, particularly with Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen, winning multiple Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Champions League trophy.
  4. Jefferson Farfán: A versatile and powerful attacker, Farfán has been a standout performer for both the Peruvian national team and his European club teams. Playing a major role in Peru’s qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he is regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation.

#7 Where to watch Soccer

  • GOLPERU and Movistar Deportes: Broadcasters offering comprehensive coverage of domestic league soccer matches, as well as international competitions.
  • ESPN and FOX Sports: Major international sports networks featuring select European league matches, alongside important international tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup and Copa América.
  • Live in Peru: Experience the exhilarating live atmosphere at notable stadiums, such as Estadio Alejandro Villanueva (Lima), Estadio Monumental (Lima), and Estadio Nacional (Lima), which host league and international matches throughout the year.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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