Peru, England and Football

Though Perú just missed out on the Copa Mundial in Quatar in 2022, the national team did reach the semi-finals of the 2021 Copa América in July 2021. Known until 1975 as the South American Football Championship, this is the main men’s football tournament contested among national teams from South America. It is the longest running international football competition, as well as the third most watched in the world.

Peru’s team is well-known for its white shirts adorned with a diagonal red stripe, which combine Peru’s national colours. This basic design has been used continuously since 1936, and gives rise to the team’s common Spanish nickname, la Blanquirroja (‘the white-and-red’).

Also see Symbols of Peru

Football in Peru

Football was introduced to Peru in the 19th century by British immigrants to Peru and Peruvians returning from England. This new sport became popular among upper-class Peruvians over the following decades. The sport became a popular daily activity in the poorer parts of Lima, encouraged by employers who hoped that it would breed solidarity and improved productivity among their workers. In the adjacent port of Callao and other commercial areas, British civilian workers and sailors played the sport among themselves and with locals. Sports rivalries between local people and foreigners arose in Callao, and between elites and workers in Lima. Over time, as the foreigners departed, this evolved into a rivalry between Callao and Lima.  These factors, coupled with the sport’s rapid development among the urban poor of Lima led to Peru developing the strongest footballing culture in the Andean region.

England v Peru

On May 30th 2014 England played Peru at Wembley. England had only played Peru twice before and Peru and England had each won once. Both matches were friendlies in the Peruvian capital, Lima, and both took place more than 50 years previously. In 2014 England won 3-0.

A group of the children from our refuge in Peru was invited by the British Embassy to watch the match live on a big screen in the Estadio Nacional in Lima on May 30th 2014.


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