Best Places to Watch Football in South America

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If you have been enjoying the Copa America this year then you might wonder where to catch a football game the next time you are in South America.

The next Copa America is due to be held in 2019 in Brazil. Having said that, there is some sort of centenary Copa America tournament being playing in the US in 2016.

If you make a trip here and there is no international tournament going on then you can still catch a cracking game in the following places.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Did you know that there are loads of teams in the Argentine Capital? Independiente, San Lorenzo, Racing, Argentinos Juniors and Velez Sarsfield are a few of the big ones. However, if you want an unforgettable game then you should go to see Boca Juniors vs River Plate. These teams really hate each other in a way that only someone from Buenos Aires can understand. Both of them have suffered a bit in recent years, as other teams have come through to dominate the league. That takes nothing away from the sizzling atmosphere at their games, though. The amazing La Bombonera stadium where Boca place is somewhere no football fan should miss. Even if you can’t catch a game you can go on a stadium tour and buy a nice t-shirt or pen set.

Rio, Brazil

If I can give you one piece of footballing advice in Rio de Janeiro it is to go to the Maracana when there is a big game on. I went to see Flamengo vs.err, someone else. It wasn’t a terrible game but the fact that the crowd was only about 20,000 meant that it felt very flat. Hang on, only 20,000 still sounds like quite a lot really. Well, this cavernous stadium holds 80,000, although it used to hold up to 200,000. This is the place where one of the biggest upsets in football history took place, with Uruguay beating Brazil in the 1950 World Cup Final in the famous Maracanazo game. These days, your best bet is probably to get your ticket and transport arranged at a travel agency. I got mine sorted out in the hostel and got picked up from there. Like I said, it wasn’t a classic game but I am still glad I went there.

índiceLa Paz, Bolivia

Bolivia isn’t famous for its football but I saw an unforgettable game there and can recommend it for a laidback sort of experience. The first thing you need to know is that this city is at an altitude of over 3,500 metres. This means that visiting teams from sea level often struggle badly when playing here. The locals aren’t quite as wild as in Argentina or Brazil but you should find a decent atmosphere in the stadium, especially if the national team is playing. The stadium is a decent distance from the city centre for walking there and back. As this is Bolivia, expect the streets outside to be lined with people selling steaming hot chorizo sandwiches, drinks in plastic bags and all sorts of interesting stuff. Just don’t make the mistake I made here. Before the game people outside were selling scarves and hats for the Bolivar team so I bought some and went in all proudly kitted out. Sadly, Bolivar weren’t playing that day. In fact, they aren’t even based in La Paz it seems. Thankfully the other fans saw the funny side and had a few laughs with me and at my expense. The game was everything I had hoped for, with 5 goals, a couple of red cards, police on the pitch and a chorizo sandwich on the way home.

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