Harman Patil (Editor)

Peru national football team

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Most caps
Roberto Palacios (128)

Home stadium
Estadio Nacional


Ricardo Gareca

Head coach
Ricardo Gareca

Top scorer
Paolo Guerrero (28)

FIFA code

Estadio Nacional de Lima

Paolo Guerrero

Peru national football team httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons33

La Blanquirroja (The White and Red) Los Incas (The Incas)

CONMEBOL (South America)

Peruvian Football Federation

The Peru national football team has represented Peru in international football since 1927. Organised by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF), it is one of the 10 members of FIFA's South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). The Peruvian team's performance has been inconsistent; it enjoyed its most successful periods in the 1930s and the 1970s. The team plays most of its home matches at the Estadio Nacional in Lima, the country's capital.


Peru has won the Copa América twice and qualified for FIFA World Cup finals four times; it also participated in the 1936 Olympic football competition. It has longstanding rivalries with Chile and Ecuador. The 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").

The Peruvian national team took part in the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930 and enjoyed victories in the 1938 Bolivarian Games and the 1939 Copa América, with goalkeeper Juan Valdivieso and forwards Teodoro Fernández and Alejandro Villanueva playing important roles. Peruvian football's successful period in the 1970s brought it worldwide recognition; the team then included the forward partnership of Hugo Sotil and Teófilo Cubillas, often regarded as Peru's greatest player, and defender Héctor Chumpitaz. This team qualified for three World Cups and won the Copa América in 1975. Peru last reached the World Cup finals in 1982.

Peru's most successful managers, Jack Greenwell and Marcos Calderón, led the national team to its major tournament victories. Under the current management of Ricardo Gareca, Peru came third at the 2015 Copa América, reached the quarterfinals of the Copa América Centenario, and participates in the qualification phase for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.


Football was introduced to Peru in the 19th century by British immigrants and Peruvians returning from England. In 1859, members of the capital Lima's British community founded the Lima Cricket Club, Peru's first organization dedicated to the practice of cricket, rugby, and football. These new sports became popular among the local upper-class over the following decades, but early developments were halted by the War of the Pacific against Chile from 1879 to 1883. After the war, Peru's coastal society embraced football as a modern innovation. The sport became a popular daily activity in Lima barrios, encouraged by bosses who wanted it to inspire 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 locals and foreigners arose in Callao, and between elites and workers in Lima. Over time, as foreigners departed, this evolved into a rivalry between Callao and Lima. These factors, coupled with the sport's rapid growth among the urban poor of Lima's La Victoria district (where the Alianza Lima club was formed in 1901), led to Peru developing, according to historian Andreas Campomar, "some of the most elegant and accomplished football on the continent", and the strongest footballing culture in the Andean region.

The Peruvian Football League was formed in 1912 and held each year until it broke up in 1921 amid disputes between the member clubs. The Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) was created the following year and, in 1926, it reorganised the annual league competition. The FPF joined the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) in 1925, and formed a national team in 1927—the delay was due to financial issues. The team debuted in the 1927 South American Championship, which the FPF hosted at the Estadio Nacional in Lima. Peru's first match was a 0–4 loss against Uruguay; their second was a 3–2 victory over Bolivia. Peru next took part in the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930, but was eliminated in the first stage.

The 1930s have been called Peruvian football's first golden era. During this decade, Peruvians traveled abroad in search of competition that would further develop their football. One notable travel was held in Europe between 1933 and 1934 by the Combinado del Pacífico, a squad composed of Chilean and Peruvian footballers, which provided the South Americans with much-needed experience. Starting with Ciclista Lima in 1926, Peruvian clubs also toured Latin America, achieving numerous victories. During one of these tours—Alianza Lima's undefeated journey through Chile in 1935—a group of players emerged that became called the Rodillo Negro ("Black Roller"), led by forwards Alejandro Villanueva and Teodoro Fernández and goalkeeper Juan Valdivieso. Sports historian Richard Witzig described these three as "a soccer triumvirate unsurpassed in the world at that time", citing their combined innovation and effectiveness at both ends of the field. Peru and the Rodillo Negro awed crowds at the 1936 Summer Olympics, won the inaugural Bolivarian Games in 1938, and finished the decade as South American champions.

Subsequent years proved less successful for the team; according to historian David Goldblatt, "despite all the apparent preconditions for footballing growth and success, Peruvian football disappeared". He attributes this sudden decline to Peruvian authorities' repression of "social, sporting and political organisations among the urban and rural poor" during the 1940s and 1950s. Peru generally performed creditably at the South American Championships during this period, nevertheless, and only narrowly missed qualification for the Sweden 1958 World Cup finals, losing over two legs to eventual champions Brazil.

A series of successes during the late 1960s, culminating with qualification for the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico, ushered in a second golden period for Peruvian football. The formidable forward partnership between Teófilo Cubillas and Hugo Sotil has been cited as a key factor in Peru's success during the 1970s. Peru reached the quarter-finals in 1970, losing to the tournament winners Brazil, and earned the first FIFA Fair Play Trophy; the team was, Richard Henshaw writes, "the surprise of the 1970 competition, showing flair and a high level of skill". Five years later, Peru was crowned South American champions for the second time when it won the 1975 Copa América (as the South American Championship was renamed that year). The team then qualified for two consecutive World Cup tournaments: it reached the second round in Argentina 1978, and was knocked out in the first group stage at the 1982 tournament in Spain. Peru's early elimination in 1982 ended a period when the side's "flowing football was admired across the globe". In spite of this, Peru barely missed the 1986 World Cup finals after placing second in a qualification group to eventual champions Argentina.

Renewed expectations for Peru were centred on a young generation of Alianza Lima players known colloquially as Los Potrillos ("The Colts"). Sociologists Aldo Panfichi and Victor Vich write that Los Potrillos "became the hope of the entire country"—fans expected them to qualify for the 1990 World Cup in Italy. The national team entered a hiatus after the Alianza Lima air disaster of 8 December 1987, when a plane carrying most of Alianza's players and staff crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Only the pilot survived the crash; among the dead were the Peru manager, Marcos Calderón, and several Peru international players, including goalkeeper José González Ganoza and Luis Escobar, who was widely tipped as a future star forward. Afterward, Peru did not come close to reaching the World Cup finals until the process for France 1998, when it missed qualification only on goal difference. This team would go on to win the 1999 Kirin Cup tournament in Japan (sharing the title with Belgium) and place third at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup—which it contested as an invited guest team.

After the turn of the 21st century, qualification for the FIFA World Cup finals continued being an elusive objective for Peru. According to historian Charles F. Walker, the Peruvian national team and football league were marred by player indiscipline problems. Troubles in the FPF, particularly with its then-president Manuel Burga, deepened the crisis in Peruvian football—FIFA temporarily suspended the country from international competition in late 2008 during the Peruvian government's investigations into alleged corruption within the FPF. Nonetheless, during this time Peru won the 2005 and 2011 Kirin Cup tournaments, and earned third place in the 2011 Copa América. In early 2015, businessman Edwin Oviedo succeeded Burga as FPF president. In March 2015, Ricardo Gareca was appointed as Peru's new manager; after coaching Peru to a third place in the 2015 Copa América and to the quarterfinals of the Copa América Centenario, he leads the team in the qualification phase for the Russia 2018 World Cup finals.


The Peru national football team plays in red and white, the country's national colours. Its first-choice kit has been, since 1936, white shorts, white socks, and white shirts with a distinctive red "sash" crossing their front diagonally from the proper left shoulder to the right hip and returning on the back from the right hip to the proper left shoulder. This basic scheme has been only slightly altered over the years. It has won praise as one of world football's most attractive kit designs; Christopher Turpin, the executive producer of NPR's All Things Considered news show, lauded the 1970 iteration in 2010 as "the beautiful game's most beautiful shirt", also commenting that it "was retro even in 1970". The version worn in 1978 came first in a 2010 ESPN list of the "Best World Cup jerseys of all time", described therein as a "simple yet strikingly effective piece of design".

Peru's first kit, made for the 1927 South American Championship, comprised a white-and-red striped shirt, white shorts and black socks. Peru was compelled to use an alternative design in the 1930 World Cup because Paraguay had already registered a kit with white-and-red striped shirts. The Peruvians instead wore white shirts with a red collar, white shorts and black socks. For the 1935 South American Championship, a horizontal red stripe was added to the shirt. The following year, at the Berlin Olympics, the team adopted the red sash design it has retained ever since. According to historian Pulgar-Vidal Otálora, the idea for the diagonal red stripe came from school football matches in which coloured sashes worn over the shoulder would allow two teams wearing white shirts to play against each other.

The Peru national team has had eight official kit manufacturers. The first of these, Adidas, began supplying the team's kit in 1978. Peru have since had contracts with Penalty (1981–82), Adidas (1983–85), Calvo Sportwear (1987), Power (1989–91), Diadora (1991–92), local manufacturer Polmer (1993–95), Umbro (1996–97), and Peruvian company Walon Sport (1998–2010). Umbro have again produced the team's kit since 2010.


The traditional home of Peruvian football is the country's national stadium, the Estadio Nacional in Lima, which houses 45,000 spectators. The present ground is the Estadio Nacional's third incarnation, the result of renovations conducted under the Alan García administration; it was officially inaugurated on 24 July 2011, 88 years to the day after the original ground opened on the same site in 1923.

The original Estadio Nacional was a wooden structure with a capacity of 6,000, donated by members of Lima's British community to celebrate the centenary of Peru's independence from Spain. Following a campaign for the ground's renovation, headed by Miguel Dasso, president of the Sociedad de Beneficencia de Lima, it was rebuilt with a larger capacity under General Manuel A. Odría and opened for the second time on 27 October 1952. The stadium was last redeveloped in 2011; improvements included the construction of a plaque-covered exterior, a multicoloured illumination system added inside the ground, as well as two giant LED screens and 375 private suites.

A distinctive feature of the ground is the Miguel Dasso Tower on its northern side, which contains luxury boxes; it was most recently renovated in 2004. The Estadio Nacional has a natural bermudagrass pitch. It was, from 2005 to 2011, the only national stadium in CONMEBOL to have artificial turf, which was installed for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship. The stadium was during this period one of Peru's four "FIFA Star II" grounds, the highest certification granted to artificial pitches, but the synthetic turf was blamed for players' injuries, such as burns and bruises. Natural grass was reinstalled as part of the redevelopments completed in 2011.

Peru sometimes play home matches at other venues. Outside the desert-like coast region of Lima, the thin atmosphere at the high-altitude Estadio Garcilaso de la Vega in Cusco has been described as providing strategic advantages for Peru against certain visiting teams. Other common alternate venues for the national team include two other grounds in the Peruvian capital—Alianza's Estadio Alejandro Villanueva and Universitario's Estadio Monumental. The last time the Peruvian team played at an alternate venue was in 2012, when it faced Chile at the Estadio Jorge Basadre in Tacna.


Football has been the most popular sport in Peru since the early 20th century. Originally largely exclusive to Lima's Anglophile elite and expatriates, and secluded from the rest of the city, football became an integral part of wider popular culture during the 1900s and 1910s. Over the following decades, Augusto B. Leguía's government institutionalised the sport into a national pastime by promoting and organising its development. Consequently, the national football team became an important element of Peru's national identity.

Peruvian football fans are known for their distinctive chant ¡Arriba Perú! ("Come on Peru!"), as well as for their use of traditional Peruvian música criolla to express support, both at national team games and at club matches. Música criolla attained national and international recognition with the advent of mass media during the 1930s, becoming a recognised symbol of Peru and its culture. The national team's most popular anthems are Peru Campeón, a polca criolla (Peruvian polka) glorifying Peru's qualification for the Mexico 1970 World Cup, and Contigo Perú, a vals criollo (Peruvian waltz) that newspaper El Comercio calls "the hymn of Peruvian national football teams".

The Estadio Nacional disaster of 24 May 1964, involving Peruvian supporters, is cited as one of the worst tragedies in football history. During a qualifying match for the 1964 Olympics between Peru's under-20 team and its counterpart from Argentina, the Uruguayan referee Angel Payos disallowed a would-be Peruvian equaliser, alleging rough play. Spectators threw missiles from the stands while two fans invaded the pitch and attacked the referee. Police threw tear gas into the crowd, causing a stampede; trying to escape, fans were crushed against the stadium's locked gates. A total of 315 people were killed in the chaos, with more than 500 others injured.


The Peru national football team maintains prominent rivalries with its counterparts from neighbouring Chile and Ecuador. The Peruvians have a favourable record against Ecuador and a negative record against Chile. Peru faced both rivals in the 1939 South American Championship in Lima, which was also the first time Peru faced Ecuador in an official tournament; Peru won both games. Peru also defeated its rivals during qualifying for the Argentina 1978 World Cup, directly eliminating both teams.

The Chile–Peru football rivalry is known in Spanish as the Clásico del Pacífico ("Pacific Derby"). CNN World Sport editor Greg Duke ranks it among the top ten football rivalries in the world. Peru first faced Chile in the 1935 South American Championship, defeating it 1–0. The two countries traditionally compete with each other over the rank of fourth-best national team in South America (after Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay). They also both claim to have invented the bicycle kick; Peruvians call it the chalaca, while it is the chilena in Chile.

The rivalry between the Ecuador and Peru football teams is rooted in the historical border conflict between the countries dating back to the 19th century. In 1995, after the brief Cenepa War, CONMEBOL contemplated altering that year's Copa América group stage to prevent a match between the two sides, but ultimately did not. According to Michael Handelsman, Ecuadorian fans consider losses to Colombia or Peru "an excuse to lament Ecuador's inability to establish itself as an international soccer power". Handelsman adds that "[t]he rivalries are intense, and the games always carry an element of national pride and honor".


The following 23 players were called up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against Venezuela on 23 March and Uruguay on 28 March 2017. Caps and goals are correct as of 23 March 2016 after the match against Venezuela.


The players listed below were not included in the current squad, but have been called up by Peru in the last 12 months.


A report published by CONMEBOL in 2008 described Peru as traditionally exhibiting an "elegant, technical and fine football style", and praised it as "one of the most loyal exponents of South American football talent". Peruvian players noted in the CONMEBOL article as "true artists of the ball" include forwards Teófilo Cubillas, Pedro Pablo León and Hugo Sotil, defender Héctor Chumpitaz and midfielders Roberto Challe, César Cueto, José del Solar, and Roberto Palacios.

Cubillas, an attacking midfielder and forward popularly known as El Nene ("The Kid"), is widely regarded as Peru's greatest ever player. Chumpitaz is often cited as the team's best defender; Witzig lists him among his "Best Players of the Modern Era", and praises him as "a strong reader of the game with excellent ball skills and distribution, [who] marshalled a capable defence to support Peru's attack". Cueto, Cubillas, and José Velásquez were together described as "the best [midfield] in the world" by El Gráfico, an Argentine sports journal, in 1978.

Teodoro Fernández, Alejandro Villanueva, and Juan Valdivieso are often regarded as the key members of the Rodillo Negro team of the 1930s. Fernández was the team's forward and primary goalscorer; his partner in attack, Villanueva, was a gifted playmaker. Valdivieso was a goalkeeper with a reputation for exceptional athleticism who often saved penalties.

A commemorative match between teams representing Europe and South America was organised in Basel, Switzerland for the benefit of homeless children in 1972. Cubillas, Chumpitaz, Sotil, and Julio Baylón played in the South American team, which won the game 2–0; Cubillas scored the first goal. A similar match was held the next year at Barcelona's Camp Nou with the declared intent of fighting global poverty; Cubillas, Chumpitaz and Sotil again played, with Chumpitaz named South America's captain. Each of the Peruvians scored in a 4–4 draw, which South America won 7–6 on penalties.


A total of 59 managers have led the Peru national football team since 1927 (including multiple spells separately); of these, 36 have been from Peru and 23 have been from abroad. Sports analysts and historians generally consider Peru's most successful managers to have been the Englishman Jack Greenwell and the Peruvian Marcos Calderón. The former managed Peru to triumph in the 1938 Bolivarian Games and the 1939 South American Championship, and the latter led Peru to victory in the 1975 Copa América tournament and coached it at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Three other managers have led Peru to tournament victories—Juan Carlos Oblitas, Freddy Ternero, and Sergio Markarián each oversaw Peru's victory in the Kirin Cup in Japan, in 1999, 2005 and 2011, respectively.

Peru's first two managers were the Uruguayans Pedro Olivieri, who was hired to manage Peru in the 1927 South American Championship because of his prior experience managing Uruguay, and Julio Borelli, who spent a few years as a referee in Peru before managing the national team in the 1929 South American Championship. The team's third manager, Spaniard Francisco Bru (a former FC Barcelona player who had been the first manager of Spain), coached Peru at the inaugural World Cup in 1930. The team's first Peruvian head coach was its fourth manager, Telmo Carbajo. The team's current manager is the Argentine Ricardo Gareca.

Managers that brought changes to the Peru national team's style of play, according to historian Andreas Campomar, include Hungarian György Orth and Brazilian Valdir Pereira. Orth coached Peru from 1957 to 1959; Campomar cites Peru's "4–1 thrashing of England in Lima" as evidence of Orth's positive influence over the national team's game. Pereira coached Peru from 1968 to 1970 and managed it at the 1970 FIFA World Cup; Campomar attributes Pereira's tactics as the reason for Peru's development of a "free-flowing football" style. Brazilian Elba de Pádua Lima, who managed Peru at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, was attributed by Placar, a Brazilian sports journal, with making Peru "a team that plays beautiful, combining efficiency with that swagger that people thought only existed in Brazil".

FIFA World Cup

The Peruvian team competed at the first World Cup in 1930 by invitation, and has entered each tournament at the qualifying stage since 1958. Having qualified three times (in 1970, 1978 and 1982), Peru has taken part in the World Cup finals four times. Its all-time record in World Cup qualifying matches as of 2014 stands at 35 wins, 30 draws and 59 losses. In the finals, the team has won four matches, drawn three and lost eight, with 19 goals in favour and 31 against. Luis de Souza Ferreira scored Peru's first World Cup goal on 14 July 1930, in a match against Romania. Jefferson Farfán is Peru's top scorer and seventh-overall top scorer in CONMEBOL World Cup qualification, with 15 goals. Teófilo Cubillas is the team's top scorer in the World Cup finals, with 10 goals in 13 games.

During the 1930 competition, a Peruvian became the first player sent off in a World Cup—his identity is disputed between sources. Peru's Ramón Quiroga holds the unusual record of being the only goalkeeper to commit a foul in the opponent's side of the pitch in a match at the World Cup finals. The national team won the inaugural FIFA Fair Play Trophy, awarded at the 1970 World Cup, having been the only team not to receive any yellow or red cards during the competition.

Copa América

Peru's national team has taken part in 31 editions of the Copa América since 1927, and has won the competition twice (in 1939 and 1975). The country has hosted the tournament six times (in 1927, 1935, 1939, 1953, 1957 and 2004). Peru's overall record in the competition is 52 victories, 33 draws, and 57 losses. Peru won the Fair Play award in the 2015 edition. Demetrio Neyra scored Peru's first goal in the competition on 13 November 1927, in a match against Bolivia. Three tournaments have featured a Peruvian top scorer—Teodoro Fernández in 1939 and Paolo Guerrero in 2011 and 2015. Fernández, the Copa América's third-overall scorer, was named best player of the 1939 tournament; Teófilo Cubillas, voted the best player in the 1975 competition, is the only other Peruvian to win this award.

Peru won its first continental title in 1939, when it won the South American Championship with successive victories over Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It was the first time the competition had been won by a team other than Uruguay, Brazil, or Argentina. Peru became South American champions for the second time in 1975, when it won that year's Copa América, the first to feature all ten CONMEBOL members. Peru came top of their group in the first round, eliminating Chile and Bolivia, and in the semifinals drew with Brazil over two legs, winning 3–1 in Brazil but losing 2–0 at home. Peru was declared the winner by drawing of lots. In the two-legged final between Colombia and Peru, both teams won their respective home games (1–0 in Bogota and 2–0 in Lima), forcing a play-off in Caracas which Peru won 1–0.

Olympic Games

Peru's senior side has competed in the Olympic football tournament once, at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. The multiracial 1936 team has been latterly described by historian David Goldblatt as "the jewel of the country's first Olympic delegation". It had a record of two victories, scoring 11 goals and conceding 5. Teodoro Fernández scored Peru's first goal in the tournament in the match against Finland on 6 August, and finished as the team's top scorer with six goals in two games, including Peru's only hat-trick at the Olympics.

The 1935 South American Championship in Lima acted as the qualifying stage for the 1936 Olympic tournament. Uruguay won undefeated and Argentina came second, but neither took up their Olympic spot because of economic issues. Peru, who had come third, duly represented South America. The Peruvian team began the competition with a 7–3 win over Finland, after which it faced Austria, managed by Jimmy Hogan and popularly known as the Wunderteam, in the quarterfinals. After the game ended 2–2, Peru scored twice in extra time to win 4–2. Peru was expected to then face Poland in the semifinals, but events off the pitch led to the withdrawal of Peru's Olympic delegation before the match was played.

Team records and results

The Peru national team has played 545 matches since 1927, including friendlies. The largest margin of victory achieved by a Peru side is 9–1 against Ecuador, on 11 August 1938 at the Bolivarian Games in Colombia. The team's record deficit, 7–0, occurred against Brazil at the 1997 Copa América in Bolivia.

The Peruvian player with the most international caps is Roberto Palacios, who represented the country 122 times between 1992 and 2007. Second is Héctor Chumpitaz, with 105 appearances; Jorge Soto is third with 101. The most capped goalkeeper is Óscar Ibáñez, who played for Peru 50 times between 1998 and 2005. Second is Miguel Miranda with 47 appearances; Ramón Quiroga is third with 40.

The team's all-time top goalscorer is Paolo Guerrero, with 27 goals in 68 appearances. He is followed by Teófilo Cubillas, who scored 26 goals in 81 appearances, and Teodoro Fernández, with 24 goals in 32 games. Peru's fastest goal—that is, that scored soonest after kick-off—was scored by Claudio Pizarro less than a minute into the match against Mexico on 20 August 2003.


Peru national football team Wikipedia