Football in Portugal

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Football fans at the Estádio da Luz

Association football (Portuguese: futebol) has a long and storied history in Portugal, following its 1875 introduction. The country's top domestic league, the Primeira Liga, was founded in 1934 and is home to internationally successful clubs such as S.L. Benfica, F.C. Porto and Sporting CP, the Big Three who usually dominate the league. In total, Portuguese clubs have won the UEFA Champions League (European Cup), the most prestigious club competition in European football, four times and the Europa League (UEFA Cup) twice.

Football is the most popular sport in Portugal and in the 2011–12 Primeira Liga season Benfica had an average attendance of 38,029 people, Porto 34,843 and Sporting 30,638 with the season overall having an average attendance of 10,958 and a total attendance of 2,629,950.

Internationally lauded players such as Eusébio, Luís Figo, Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo have played for the Portugal national football team. The national team were third in the 1966 World Cup and fourth in the 2006 World Cup. The country hosted Euro 2004, where they were runners-up. A Selecção were also semi-finalists in Euro 1984, Euro 2000 and Euro 2012.

History[edit]

Monument in Camacha, celebrating the first ever organised football game in Portugal

Football started to gain popularity in Portugal in the late 19th century, brought by Portuguese students who returned from England.

The first organized game in the country took place in 1875 in Camacha, Madeira, organized by Madeira-born Harry Hinton, who brought a football from England where he was studying. Popularity quickly spread across the island. Harry would go on to become Honorary President of CS Marítimo.[1] [2]

The person responsible for its spread in main land Portugal, was Guilherme Pinto Basto (according to some people, his brothers Eduardo and Frederico brought the ball from England). He organized an exhibition in October 1888 and a match on in January the following year. The match, played where today's Campo Pequeno bullring is located, involved opposing teams from Portugal and England. The Portuguese won the game 2–1. Consequently, football started attracting the attention of high society, distinguished by the Luso-British rivalry.

The game reached colleges and led to clubs across the country. By century's end, associations such as Clube Lisbonense, Carcavelos Sport Club, Braço de Prata, Real Ginásio Clube Português, Estrela Futebol Clube, Futebol Académico, Campo de Ourique, Oporto Cricket, and Sport Clube Vianense had been founded.

The first domestic match, between Lisbon and Porto, took place in 1894, attended by King Carlos.

Clube Internacional de Futebol (founded in 1902) was the first Portuguese team to play abroad, defeating Madrid Fútbol Clube in 1907 in Madrid, Spain.

On 31 March 1914, the 3 regional associations that existed in Portugal (Lisbon, Portalegre and Porto), merged to create a national association called "a União Portuguesa de Futebol" the ancestor of the current national association "Federação Portuguesa de Futebol" which was formed on 28 May 1926.

Club football[edit]

The main domestic football competition is the Primeira Liga. The dominant teams are Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Futebol Clube do Porto, and Sporting Clube de Portugal.

The oldest team is Académica, which was founded in 1876. Futebol Clube do Porto, after an unsuccessful attempt in 1893, reappeared in 1906 (the club maintained the foundation date of 1893), stimulated by José Monteiro da Costa among others. Boavista FC was founded by English people in the city of Porto in 1903. Sport Lisboa e Benfica was born in 1904 as the result of the fusion in 1908 between Sport Lisboa, founded in 1904, and Grupo Sport Benfica, founded in 1906. The club maintained the foundation date of Sport Lisboa, founded in 1904. Sporting Clube de Portugal was founded in 1906 by the Viscount of Alvalade and his grandson José de Alvalade. Belenenses was founded in 1919. These clubs sponsor several sports activities, but give great emphasis to football, making use of teams of professional players, which frequently participate in European competitions.[3]

List of Teams (2013–2014 season)[edit]

Conventional name UEFA short name Official name Location
Académica de Coimbra A.Académica de Coimbra Associação Académica de Coimbra Coimbra
Arouca FC Arouca Futebol Clube de Arouca Arouca
Belenenses CF Os Belenenses Clube de Futebol Os Belenenses Lisbon
Benfica S.L. Benfica Sport Lisboa e Benfica Lisbon
Braga or
Sporting de Braga
SC Braga Sporting Clube de Braga Braga
Gil Vicente Gil Vicente F.C. Gil Vicente Futebol Clube Barcelos
Estoril or
Estoril-Praia
GD Estoril-Praia Grupo Desportivo Estoril-Praia Estoril
Marítimo CS Marítimo Club Sport Marítimo Funchal,
Madeira
Nacional or
Nacional da Madeira
CD Nacional Clube Desportivo Nacional Funchal,
Madeira
Olhanense SC Olhanense Sporting Clube Olhanense Olhão
Paços de Ferreira F.C. Paços de Ferreira Futebol Clube Paços de Ferreira Paços de Ferreira
Porto F.C. Porto Futebol Clube do Porto Porto
Rio Ave Rio Ave F.C. Rio Ave Futebol Clube Vila do Conde
Sporting Sporting
Clube de Portugal
Sporting Clube de Portugal Lisbon
Vitória de Setúbal or
Setúbal
Vitória FC Vitória Futebol Clube Setúbal
Vitória de Guimarães or
Guimarães
Vitória SC Vitória Sport Clube Guimarães

[4]

National team[edit]

Portuguese football fans supporting the national team

As of 26 May 2010, the Portuguese national team was ranked third in FIFA world ranking, their highest ever. Their lowest rank was 43rd overall in 1998.

Portugal hosted UEFA Euro 2004, but were upset by champions Greece in the final. The Portuguese national team reached the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup twice; in 1966, when Eusébio was the top scorer, with nine goals, and also in 2006, led by Cristiano Ronaldo and Luís Figo. This was the first time since 1966 that the Portuguese football team had advanced this far in a World Cup tournament.

Future for the Portuguese Program[edit]

Many of the players of the "golden generation" have retired or are rapidly approaching retirement. As a result, a new era of players, lead by Cristiano Ronaldo are on the rise. However, the team has not had much more success than in the past, with an exit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012 by Spain, the winners of both tournaments.[5]

Stadiums in Portugal
Estádio da Luz
Capacity: 65,647
 
Estádio do Dragão
Capacity: 50,948
 
Estádio José Alvalade
Capacity: 50,466
 
Estádio Nacional
Capacity: 37,593
 
Estádio Municipal de Aveiro
Capacity: 30,498
 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "www.love-madeira.com". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Camacha". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  3. ^ Portugal Football Guide. (2012). Portuguese Football. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from Football Bible website: http://www.football-bible.com/soccer-info/portugal-football.html
  4. ^ ESPN FC. (2012). Portuguese Liga Clubs. Retrieved December 11, 2012, from Portuguese Liga website: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/clubs/_/league/por.1/portuguese-liga?cc=5901 This article written by the staff at ESPN FC, an organization that delivers in-depth coverage of soccer around the world, is a compiled list of all the football clubs in Portugal. This article has information about each roster of the clubs, their stats and news about each team. It provides a neat compiled list for easy access to information about the clubs.
  5. ^ Soccer Aceademy. (2012). The Portugal Soccer Team. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from Soccer Academy website: http://www.soccer-academy.net/portugal-soccer.html

See also[edit]