Portugal – GENERAL INFORMATION – Culture – Sports and games

Sports and games
European football is the most popular and practiced sport in Portugal. As of November 2004, the country is ranked 8th in 205 countries by FIFA. Luís Figo is one of the world’s top players, but the legendary Eusébio, Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo are also noteworthy. FC Porto crowned its international success by winning the UEFA Cup in 2003 and UEFA Champions League in 2004 as well as local cups. The team also won the last Intercontinental Cup in the History, by defeating Colombian champions Once Caldas, in Japan, through the penalty shootouts. The main domestic football competition is the Superliga. Many professional and well organized sport competitions take place every season in Portugal, this include: Basketball, Handball, Volleyball, Rugby, Cycling and Athletics. Portugal is also very well represented in other sports, such has Rink hockey, being the country with most world titles. Golf is also worth mentioning, since its greatest players play in the sunny region of the Algarve during the “Algarve Open”. The Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva in the Estoril, near Lisbon, is the main Portuguese race track where many car and moto racing competitions are organized.

The country has an ancient martial art known as “Jogo do Pau” (Portuguese Stick Combat), used for self-protection and for duels between young men in dispute over young women. Having its origin in the Middle Ages, Jogo do Pau uses wooden sticks as a combat weapon. Other sports are the “Jogos Populares”, a wide variety of traditional sports used for fun.