The Estadio Azteca is a legendary place and as of now is the biggest football stadium I have been to. It has a capacity of just over eighty seven thousand which is more than four times the capacity of Tynecastle. It has hosted two world cup finals, being the location in which Diego Maradona took his nation to world cup glory. Nowadays it is the home of the Mexican national team and the clubs Cruz Azul and Club América.
Watching the National Team: Mexico vs USA
My good friend Yamil organised us and our friends to go to the match between Mexico and the United States which is the biggest international rivalry in North America. Although this match ended 0-0, it was extremely important for Mexico as they needed a win in order to secure qualification for the world cup.
Before the game, I also went to a sports shop to buy a Mexico shirt and I have to say it’s one of my favourite football shirts I have bought, it was definitely worth the price and I feel like I couldn’t have been in Mexico without buying one.
The ticket for the game cost me about £50 and to get the tickets all we needed to do was buy them off of Ticketmaster and collect them from Liverpool. Once we got the tickets we had to register our details and send a picture of ourselves on a website and we’d receive a QR code by email.
Getting to the Estadio Azteca is possible by public transport, from Condesa we had to get the metro from Patriotismo to Tasqueña and then a light train for 20 minutes which takes us right outside of the stadium.
Once we got to the stadium I was amazed at the sheer size of the place and we had to queue up to get our tickets checked. Because of some violence which occurred in Querétaro, we were not allowed to bring our belts into the stadium so we had to pay $20 each for someone to look after our belts and get them back after the game. I have to say I thought this was absolutely ridiculous, but it could not be helped.
Once we got outside the stadium, it’s worth mentioning that there is a really cool mural of Diego Maradona which my Argentine friend was really proud of.
Outside of the stadium I bought some beers for me and my friends and it’s great that you can buy a beer and take it to your seat unlike in Scotland. A beer in a plastic cup which you can take home as a souvenir cost me only $100 which is about £3.50. We had to queue again to get into the stand while holding our beers and we made to our seats a few minutes before kickoff.
The game itself was honestly a bit underwhelming as neither Mexico nor the United States scored any goals. Although I did see Ochoa make some incredible saves and the atmosphere was pretty good. During half time my friend and I got into a conversation with an old guy who could even speak some decent English and talked about how he had been to London.
After the game I saw some people in USA shirts and told them it was a good game, we had introduced ourselves to some Americans and Chicanos who had came to the game from California. There was also a Mexican guy who was a Bayern Munich fan with a Bayern Munich shirt and was amazed to meet my German friend. To be honest, the atmosphere didn’t feel hostile at all and the presence of riot police seemed completely unnecessary.
Watching Liga MX: América vs Puebla
A few months after one of my friends from the university invited me to go to a Club América game with him. It was the quarter final of a cup competition against Puebla and he bought them off of Ticketmaster. We took a taxi there and as we got closer to the ground, the traffic got more congested, keep in mind if you want to go to a game, you should come with plenty of time.
Once we got there, the queue to get in was hectic and there was a small misunderstanding to do with my ticket which meant we missed the first 15 minutes of the game. However, once we got in, I was amazed by the incredible atmosphere of the América fans and the fans next to us wanted to know where we were from. I found them to be very friendly and welcoming.
In the stadium, there are people who walk around the stairs selling beers and I bought 2 micheladas for $300. The beers were passed down by the fans city next to me and I passed along the money, which shows how trustworthy Mexicans are.
The game itself was very entertaining, with both teams scoring before the end of the first half and then I could clearly see that there was a penalty which was verified by VAR. At first the América player’s penalty was saved, but the puebla keeper was off his line, when the penalty was retaken, it was 2-1 to América. Then 10 minutes later, América scored a cracking team goal. In the very last minute, Puebla scored a consolation penalty and the final score was 3-2.
What I have to say is that Mexican football has exceeded my expectations, the Azteca is an incredible stadium and the fans were singing without stopping.