South Americans are passionate about their football - a lot more passionate than Europeans I believe. Working as a travel consultant, a lot of clients have asked me to book football tickets for them, or asked where was best to watch a footie match in a particular country. Here’s some advice on football in South America.
If at all possible, the top football attraction in South America is the Copa America, which is Latin America’s twice yearly (normally it’s every two years anyway) football competion (though USA normally participates also). In 2007 the Copa America was held in Venezuela, and what a shambles it was in terms of organisation. For some reason, all the tickets were sold via Brazil, and booking anything was almost impossible. I had three clients that anted to book Copa America football tours, but I couldn’t do it for them, as te whole event was planned incompetently.
Hopefully, the next Copa America will be better planned - I believe it will be held in 2011 in Argentina - a long time to wait, but it will almost certainly be worth it. If you want to book a Copa America tour, I’d suggest booking through a Latin America travel specialist tour operator rather than a football specialist tour operator (as the latter is unlikely to know anything about Argentina.)
So if you can’t wait until the next Copa America, where is great for watching football matches in South America? In reality, the entire continent is passionate about football, and the atmosphere in any large stadium will be quite amazing. To witness the highest level of skill, you need to head to either Brazil or Argentina - where there are many famous football teams and stadiums. In Buenos Aires, River Plate and Boca Juniors are the two biggest teams - River Plate’s stadium is biggest, but Boca’s stands are closer to the pitch, and as such the atmosphere slightly wilder there.
Brazil’s biggest and best football stadium is in Rio de Janeiro - the Maracana is home to Flamengo, Fluminense and Botafogo. There’s a game on about every other day - the stadium is almost always full and the atmosphere is always amazing. Needless to say, the derby games have the best atmosphere. Certainly one of the best places to watch football in South America is at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Book tickets in an instant by clicking here and check the scheduled games right here.
So how do you go about booking a football ticket in South America? Simple really - book in advance to guarantee your seat (see above) or ask locaaly, and hope there’s space.
Here’s a few more football fan photos to get you in the mood for a trip to a match. Some of the girls are beautiful -and they know it!