Sports, Portuguese

   Among the many sports enjoyed in Portugal, soccer (futebol) is by far the most popular, with some observers claiming that it approaches a semireligious movement. In international competition, although Portugal's national team boasts world-class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, and nourishes fond memories of "Eusébio" from the 1960s world cup matches, Portugal has never won a World Cup. It has garnered individual titles in the Euro soccer cup. A ferocious rivalry among professional soccer clubs continues, as fans of clubs such as Sporting and Benfica demonstrate.
   In recent decades, Portuguese athletes have excelled in world track and field competitions, and Olympic gold medals have been won by athletes such as Vanessa Fernandes, Rui Silva, and Naide Gomes. Portuguese teams have been highly competitive in the fast, popular sport of rink hockey, also called hardball hockey or roller hockey (quad), or, in the Portuguese language, hoquei em patins. Since the 1940s, Portugal has won 15 world titles, in hot competition with rivals Spain (13 world titles), Italy (4), and Argentina (4). Among other popular sports in Portugal is cycling, and the principal cycle competition in Portugal is the Volta a Portugal. In recent years, rugby has attained a new popularity in Portugal, and Portuguese rugby teams have been improving. In judo, Portugal has a young European champion in Telma Monteiro. Equestrianism has long been a sport of consequence, although traditionally viewed as a largely elite activity. Bull- fighting continues, but its popularity has slipped and the activity's future remains uncertain. In a country with a substantial Atlantic coast, Portugal has taken to popular water sports, such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, surfing, swimming, and kite-surfing. Motor sports, such as international car racing, also have a growing number of fans.
   See also Futebol.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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