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Portugal a kingdom of soccer and rich culture

The following article is based on materials provided by Centro Cultural Português em Seul and the Honorary Consulate of Portugal to The Korea Post.--Ed



Portugal, a southwestern European country, bordering the north Atlantic Ocean, is a country which boasts a long history of 900 years of independence. It is a predominant Roman Catholic country with a Parliamentary democratic government. Its capital is Lisbon, and its National Day is 10 June (1580).

Due to its proximity to both the Mediterranean Sea and Africa, the country¡¯s ethnicity is mostly composed of homogeneous Mediterranean-origin people and small number of African descents. Portugal, which is located west of Spain, might not be a very large country, but it still has characteristics that make it significant in both European and international communities. Portugal is currently enjoying a steady economic growth.



FIFA ranks Portugal fifth in world¡¯s soccer (football):

Portugal has been called the ¡°Brazil of Europe¡± because of the brand of football they play: artistic, creative and excitement. However, the artistic play of a team that does not always lead to wins. Therefore, Portugal with players that are considered by many to be one of the best in the world, are looking forward to the World Cup as a chance to overcome the tag of purveyors of beautiful football without ever getting results. As coach Antonio Oliveira said when he accepted the position, ¡°We have to be the first, instead of being the best.¡±

Portugal team¡¯s coach Antonio Oliveira became a hero for taking Portugal to the World Cup 2002 for the first time since 1986. This is the sixth time overall that Portugal will enter a major competition. Twice beaten semi-finalists of the UEFA European Championship, they also reached a more than creditable third place in the FIFA World Cup England 1966.

Portuguese people may be obsessed with football, but their nation has only qualified for the World Cup twice before. They finished third in 1966, led by the goal scoring of the ¡°Black Panther¡± Eusebio, and in 1986 failed to advance past the first phase. They have played nine games, winning six and losing three. Never has the popular Portuguese phrase, ¡°Third time is the right time,¡± been so applicable to its football team. After twice before making it to the FIFA World Cup finals, Portugal have managed to go through to their third, the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, with realistic hopes of achieving new heights in the world competition.

Portugal¡¯s ¡°golden generation¡±, which features players such as Real Madrid¡¯s Luis Figo and AC Milan¡¯s Rui Costa (from major European football leagues), will carry the flag, fully prepared for the biggest test of their lives. Many of the players that compose the national side were part of the teams that won two FIFA World Youth Championships (Saudi Arabia 1989 and Portugal 1991). In addition, many were runners-up in the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 1994, and some reached the fourth position in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

The key players of the Portugal team are Luis Figo, Rui Costa, and central defenders Jorge Costa and Fernando Couto. Another player who is expected to draw attention is Nuno Gomes. Then there are also Joao Pinto, Sergio Conceicao and Abel Xavier. The following are major achievements of Portugal¡¯s soccer history: 3rd 1966 FIFAWorld Cup England; 3rd UEFA European Championship France 1984; and 3rd UEFA European Championship Belgium-The Netherlands 2000.



A nation with long history and rich culture

Portugal has been an independent kingdom since 1143. It established its continental frontiers in 1297 and is one of the oldest nations in Europe. Situated on the southwestern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, its geographic location along the Atlantic coast soon determined its vocation to the sea.

In 1415, the Portuguese set sail on an epic voyage that would make them the first to discover the ocean routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan, and at the same time found settlements on the East and West coasts of Africa.

Traces of this worldwide historic presence may be seen as trademarks of the Portuguese. The Portuguese language became one of the most widely spoken in the world, seven countries have designated Portuguese as their official language, and these countries also formed the CPLP (Comunidade dos País de Língua Oficial Portuguesa).

Portugal also has a very rich culture. Portuguese people were privileged for being exposed to many different civilizations. The vast monumental, artistic and archaeologic heritage represent not only the 850 years of history of contacts with distant cultures, but also the presence in the territory of more ancient peoples (Celts, Suevians, Visigoths, Romans and Arabs).

The natural advantages of a sunny country with such diverse geographic features have turned Portugal into a chosen destination for many holiday-makers. It¡¯s an ideal place for practicing water sports and playing golf, offering modern tourism facilities, and quaint and personalized means of accommodation, such as turismo de habitacao (privately owned homes ranging from wonderful farm-houses to manor houses). Portugal records 20 million tourists every year.

Portugal is a member-country of the European Union since 1986, member of NATO, and also a member-country of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating countries from Europe, Central Asia and North America.



Korea-Portugal relations:

Not many people are aware of the fact that Portugal and Korea relationship dates back to 400 years ago. Yes, the Far West European country and the Far East Asian country that may seem very distant from each other, has been in contact. It is also recorded that Portugal had relations with Korea even during Japanese annexation of Korea around 1952.

Currently Portugal and Korea is connected by the institution of Honorary Consulate of Portugal in Busan, Korea. Due to the fact that Korea and Portugal both have a history of being marine empires, the two countries are bound by a shipping businessman, Chairman Kang Eui-ku of the COSMOS Group. Chairman Kang has been engaged in diverse maritime industry, as he is also the Honorary Consul of Portugal.

(www.portugal.or.kr)


Credits to this great acticle go to Koreapost.com
 
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