How far would you go to see your team play in the FIFA World Cup? Would you make 64-hour long round trips, or put on 24 kg of weight to apply for one of the special easy-access extra-width seats that are much easier to get? These are some of the stories The Guardian has published about Peruvian soccer fans willing to do almost anything to see their country play.
“It is a remarkable tale that illustrates just how much this World Cup means to the people of Peru, who have travelled in such huge numbers to Russia, taking over whole streets everywhere from Moscow to Saransk, where the team face Denmark in their opening game on Saturday, proudly wearing those distinctive white shirts with the red sash”, wrote The Guardian.
Some stories are of people who traveled from Peru to Russia on a €1,000 budget and eating cookies during the day to get by. Others left their jobs at home to get an extra payment that will allow them to travel.
“A lot of others held what we call a pollada, which involves cooking chicken and providing beer at home in exchange for money”, said Guillermo Espinoza, an English teacher from Lima, to The Guardian.
Perhaps one of the reasons Peruvians have gone to the limits to cheer their team in the World Cup is because it has been 36 years since they made it to this championship, and, like Rodrigo Verastegui – who plays the drum in the stadium at Peru home matches – says, they don’t know if Peru will get to another World Cup.