The brewery Central de Cervejas announced Wednesday that they sold 25 million litres of beer during Euro 2004. The brand Sagres took up 87% of that figure.
There were, understandably, wild scenes on the streets of Greek cities Sunday. On Monday, the players and coaches received special honours in front of tens of thousands of people at Panathinaikos' stadium in Athens.
A man in England had enough faith to bet from the outset on Greece to be winners. He won 495,000 euros from the betting chain Ladbrokes.
Four Portuguese players found their way into UEFA's 'Squad of the Tournament'. They were Ricardo Carvalho, Figo, Maniche and Cristiano Ronaldo. Greece's captain Zagorakis was named Player of the Tournament.
The whole 'squad':
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Czech), Antonios Nikopolidis (Gre)
Defenders: Sol Campbell (Eng), Ashley Cole (Eng), Traianos Dellas (Gre), Olof Mellberg (Swe), Ricardo Carvalho (Por), Georgios Seitaridis (Gre), Gianluca Zambrotta (Ita)
Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Ger), Luis Figo (Por), Frank Lampard (Eng), Maniche (Por), Pavel Nedved (Czech), Theodoros Zagorakis (Gre), Zinédine Zidane (Fra)
Forwards: Milan Baros (Czech), Angelos Charisteas (Gre), Henrik Larsson (Swe), Cristiano Ronaldo (Por), Wayne Rooney (Eng), Jon Dahl Tomasson (Den), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Holl)
Portugal saw their dream of winning the European Championship as hosts snuffed out Sunday by a well-organised Greek side that knew how to negate Portugal's weapons. Portugal had most possession and most shots on target, but it was Greece who got a goal through Charisteas on 56 minutes.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Paulo Ferreira, 42 m), Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha (Rui Costa, 59 m), Maniche, Deco, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pauleta (Nuno Gomes, 72 m).
Grécia: Nikopolidis, Seitaridis, Dellas, Kapsis, Fyssas, Basinas, Katsouranis, Zagorakis, Giannakopoulos (Venetidis, 75 m), Vryzas (Papadopoulos, 80 m), Charisteas.
There were disturbances among Greek fans in Lisbon Saturday as the Greek football authorities tried to distribute the 3,000 tickets they had available for the Final on Sunday. Demand far outweighed supply, and the fans that had flown in from Greece especially for the Final complained that they had been promised a ticket before they left. Two Greek fans were arrested.
Portugal coach Felipe Scolari announced Saturday that Pauleta will keep his place as striker in the Final. The team should therefore be unchanged from the semi-final win against Holland:
Ricardo, Miguel, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Deco, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pauleta.
Greek coach Otto Rehhagel said that Portugal are favourites for the Final, but that "the [Greek] players are representing their country very well and tomorrow are going to do the best they can in a game in which we have nothing to lose."
UEFA chief Lennart Johansson praised Portugal's orgnanisation of the Euro 2004 tournament Friday: "UEFA is proud that it chose Portugal to organise Euro 2004. It is without a doubt the best European Championship ever. A small country like Portugal has proved that it is capable of organising this great competition."
Portugal trained Friday with Jorge Andrade included. The central defender, who 'scored' the own goal against Holland, had been absent from training on Thursday.
The Dutch striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy has been banned for two matches following allegations of bias that he made against referee Anders Fisk after the Portugal v Holland game Thursday.
Twelve thousand watched the Portugal v Holland game in the so-called 'Fan Park' at the former Expo '98 site.
The Portugal v Holland semi-final had the most viewers ever on Portuguese television: 3.8 million
The official best team and best player of the tournament will be announced on the Monday following the Final of the tournament, UEFA announced Thursday.
Portugal will face Greece in the final of Euro 2004. Greece played their solid defensive game against the favourites Czech Republic, and it was the Czechs that had most of the play and chances. But it was Greece that got the all-important goal, one minute from half-time of extra-time, defender Dellas heading in a corner at the near post. The 'silver goal' rule then kicked in, meaning that there was no need to pay the second half of extra-time; Greece were through to the final.
Neither Greece nor Portugal have been in the final of a major competition before, and so the European Championship will have a new holder this time around.
Portugal reached the final of a major football competition for the first time in their history Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Holland at the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon. Portugal had most of the first half play and went ahead on 26 minutes with a close range header by an unmarked Cristiano Ronaldo from a corner by Deco. On 57 minutes, Maniche curled a shot past Van der Saar from way out on the left. But five minutes later, Jorge Andrade looped an own goal over Ricardo to give Portugal the jitters. As Holland came back into it, Portugal threw everything into defence and held on for a famous victory.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche (Fernando Couto, 86 m), Figo, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo (Petit, 66 m), Pauleta (Nuno Gomes, 74 m).
Holland: Van der Saar, Reiziger, Stam, Bouma (Van der Vaart, 55 m), Van Bronckhorst, Davids, Cocu, Seedorf, Overmars (Makaay, 45 m), Van Nistelrooy, Robben (Van Hooijdonk, 80 m).
Portugal have been losing semi-finalists in three major tournaments: against England in the 1966 World Cup, against France in the 1984 European Championship, and against France again in Euro 2000.
The major towns and cities of Portugal were once again clogged up with jubilant supporters after the game.Lisbon, from the the Marquês de Pombal junction at the top of the city down the Avenida da Liberdade and into Restauradores and Rossio in the centre, supporters crammed the streets and pavements, with traffic cut off.
Felipe Scolari, Portugal coach: "This was the game we needed to win to go down in history. The players played above themsleves and are to be congratulated. In fact, the whole of Portugal is to be congratulated."
Luís Figo, captain, elected Man of the Match: "Nothing can compare with a final of a European Championship. I'd trade all the titles I've won for this one. Not just for me, but for the fans, who have been fantastic. These victories are the fruit of teamwork ... I have no preference for opponents in the final. If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best."
Cristiano Ronaldo, scorer of Portugal's first goal: "It's a great feeling to score a goal in a semi-final. The opponent was very tricky, but I think that Portugal deserved to win ... I'm very happy to know that the coach has renewed his contract."
Maniche, scorer of Portugal's second goal: "It would be good if it was voted the best goal of the tournament, but Portugal's going to the final is the most important thing ... It was the best goal of my career, for the importance it had ... Two things passed through my mind - shoot at goal or cross?. It's just as well I shot at goal."
Jorge Andrade, 'scorer' of Holland's goal: "My unlucky goal gave them new life, but we were really concentrating and beat a great team ... It was our lucky day and we're finally in the final. We always managed to neutralise Holland's attack and we deserved to win."
Costinha, midfielder: "We're at a very important stage of our careers and in an extremely difficult competition that we have always believed we could win, even after the defeat to Greece. We've had fantastic team spirit, and now we have 90 minutes to achieve something that's never been achieved [by a Portuguese team] before. We want to offer that game to the nation because the support has been fantastic."
Dick Advocaat (Holland coach): "The better team won this evening."
Jorge Sampaio (Portuguese President): "After this game, we're all to be congratulated ... Maybe we've been needing something to motivate us after months and years that have not been that happy ... It's important to see that we're able to get involved with something - now it's to be seen whether we can do the same for things that are decisive for our future."
Durão Barroso (Portuguese Prime Minister .. for now): "The sky's the limit. The Portuguese fate is to suffer to the end. But we deserve to triumph."
Referential sports daily A Bola called the victory "sublime":
Sixteen thousand Portuguese fans are expected at Alvalade for Wednesday's semi-final between Portugal and Holland. There will be 8,500 Dutch fans and the same number of 'neutrals'.
The semi-final between Portugal and Holland (Wednesday at Alvalade) is a sell-out, while the one between Greece and the Czech Republic (Thursday at the Estádio do Dragão) still has tickets available.
Workers of Carris, the company responsible for overground public transport within Lisbon (buses and trams), are on strike Wednesday, although minimum services will be operating on many routes. The Lisbon metro (underground) was also to go on strike, but as this is the main means to get to games in the city, the Governemnt requisitioned the workers and equipment so that it could be running normally.
Portuguese players are at the top of several of UEFA's statistical charts. Deco is the player who has suffered (22) and committed (19) most fouls. Portugal has the top three of players who have lost the ball most: Deco (47), Figo (46), Cristiano Ronaldo (46). Figo is the top corner-taker with 20, followed by Deco (17). Maniche is the champion of short passes attempted (223) and made (205)
The Sociedade Euro 2004, the company responsible for organising the tournament locally, presented a cheque for 100,000 euros Tuesday to Fenacerci, a Portuguese institution for the underprivileged.
Frank de Boer will miss Holland's semi-final with Portugal due to a knee injury picked up in the quarter-final against Sweden.
For Portugal, Nuno Gomes and Jorge Andrade are still undergoing treatment and are doing only light training following knocks picked up in the quarter-final against England.
The Portuguese Football Federation has announced that there will be no tickets for the Portugal v Holland semi-final (at Sporting's Alvalade Stadium) on sale - at least through official channels.
UEFA has criticised the British press for making referee Urs Meier the scapegoat for Portugal's quarter-final defeat of England. It was especially critical of the fact that his car, house and family had been photographed.
The Czech Republic became the fourth semi-finalist of Euro 2004 Sunday with an ultimately comfortable 3-0 win over Demark. Man of the match was undoubtedly Milan Baros who scored two goals in two minutes after Koller had put the Czechs in the lead on 49. The Czech Republic play Greece on Thursday at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto.
The Czech Republic v Denmark game marked the passing of the one million mark for spectators so far in the tournament.
Portugal will play Holland in the semi-finals of Euro 2004. The Dutch beat Sweden Saturday, but they had to do it via penalties (5-4), the game finishing 0-0 after extra time. Ibrahimovic and Cocu both missed to send it into sudden death. Sweden's Mellberg took the first but Van der Saar saved it. Robben got the next to send Holland through.
Dutch coach Dick Advocaat said that the two extra days' rest that Portugal will have had before the semi-final will be important, but that "the pressure's on Portugal."
Portugal returned to training Saturday following their epic win over England. Jorge Andrade and Nuno Gomes are carrying knocks and did specific treatment and training.
Portugal coach Felipe Scolari was quick to muffle the euphoria that is spreading the country following the win over England and consequent passage to the semi -finals: "Don't think that we've already won. I see, feel, participate in and like what's happening, but let's calm down - we can't think that we're the best. We're among the four finalists, but in the next game we have to prove that we deserve to be in the final ... The victory brought more personality and confidence ... we have a dream , but to make that dream come true, we have to keep our feet on the ground."
Portugal have been fined 1800 euros for having too many members of the coaching staff in the bench area during the Portugal v Spain match. They have also been fined for the Nike logo on their training kit, used during the warm-up before games, being too big.
France were the latest of the 'big guns' to crash out of Euro 2004 Friday, going down 0-1 to a very well organised Greek side. The Greek defence and midfield rarely let France get into their flow, and Zidane and Henry were reduced to non-entities on the night. Charisteas headed the only goal on 64 minutes, but even that could not wake France up. Greece now go on to the semi-finals to meet either the Czech Republic or Denmark.
In an electrifying game at the appropriately named Estádio da Luz, Portugal suffered but came through with an immense show of determination to beat a dogged England on penalties.
England were one-up very early on, Costinha misheading a ball into the path of Owen who cut between Ricardo Carvalho and Jorge Andrade, turned and clipped a neat shot over Ricardo. England then sat back and for most of the rest of the game, it was Portugal who did all the running, helped, it must be said, by an injury to Rooney that saw him hobbling off with a broken foot. England were well organised at the back, and Ashley Cole especially had Cristiano Ronaldo in his pocket.
But as against France in the first game, the retreat proved England's undoing, and seven minutes from time, one sub, Simão, crossed for another, Postiga, to head in from close range. In the dying minutes, England thought they'd sealed it when Sol Campbell headed in, but the referee disallowed it for a foul by Terry on the 'keeper Ricardo. And so it went to extra-time.
Five minutes into the second half of extra-time, the third sub, Rui Costa, strode forward confidently with the ball from the halfway line and cracked a superb drive past James from the edge of the box. It looked all over, but England are nothing if not resilient, and five minutes later were on level terms again, Lampard bundling the ball over the line from a corner, with some blame for the Portuguese defence. And so it went to penalties.
David Beckham made a hash of the very fist one, skying it and looking daggers at the spot on the loose turf where his supporting foot had slipped. Rui Costa also skied one later and it was 4-4, so it went to sudden death. Portugal's first in this phase was a cheeky chip from Hélder Postiga that fooled James. Up next was Darius Vassel, and his kick was turned around the post by a gloveless Ricardo. Portugal needed to score the next one to win the game. Keeper Ricardo stepped up and planted a perfect one past his counterpart. Portugal were through.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Rui Costa, 78), Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Nuno Valente, Costinha (Simão, 63), Maniche, Deco, Figo (Hélder Postiga, 75), Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes.
England: David James, Gary Neville, Sol Campbell, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard (Owen Hargreaves, 81), Frank Lampard, David Beckham, Paul Scholes (Phil Neville, 57), Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney (Darius Vassell, 27).
The Portuguese once again went to the streets to celebrate the victory, and the Baixa (City Centre) of Lisbon was closed to traffic to accommodate the thousands of fans thatb flocked there after the game.
Ricardo (Portugal's ´keeper who saved and scored a penalty in the shoot-out): "It was great to score that goal ... I told Mister Scolari that I was up for taking a penalty, and he told me that after the first five, I could ... I had to save a shot from Owen, and just as well, because that would have made it 0-2 ... We were left feeling that we'd started the game one-down [because of the early goal], but with great ability and humility, we did it!
Felipe Scolari (Portugal Coach): "It was a fantastic match, well played, with goals, excitement, everything we like to see in football. It was very even, we won, but we could also have lost ... Congratulations to the Portuguese fans who, if they were in a minority in the stadium, you wouldn't have noticed. I'm happy because we've come up with part of all we promised the Portuguese. Now we're dreaming of much more. We've evolved and we've reached where we wanted to be. Now we have to work to get to the final ... I don't want to choose an opponent for the semi-finals - any one will do ... Ricardo is one of Sporting's penalty-takers. I've yet to see him miss. I gave him the chance after he made a great save. If there are penalties again, he'll still be sixth or seventh ... I don't know if Figo went to the changing-room or not [after he was substituted], if he was behind us or not. I'm paid to watch the game. I didn't notice anything. I can say, however, that I heard that Figo was in the changing-room with a picture of the Virgin Mary in his hand, watching the penalties."
Cristiano Ronaldo: "It's not every day you get to the semis of a European Championship, and so we're naturally very happy ... We were always the better team on the pitch - We were on top of them, going for goal ... In the penalties, God was with us ... Now anything can happen ... We know it's going to be difficult, but we also know that after these two victories [v England and Spain], it's going to be difficult for any opponent to stop us."
Erikkson (England Coach): "I always thought we'd reach the semis or the final ... I apologise to the fans and the team for not getting there, but we have to accept that we were knocked out and that tomorrow we'll have to return to London ... It was a very difficult game, as was expected ... Unfortunately, we missed penalties and they didn't ... but life doesn't finish here. We have to look to the future and think about qualification for the World Cup ... Yes, I'm going to continue as coach."
Durão Barroso (Portuguese Prime Minister): "The sky's the limit ... From now on, each game is a final and I will wear this tie. It gave me luck in the game against Spain, and I'll never take it off again for games."
Germany failed to qualify for the quarter-finals Wednesday when they went down 1-2 to the already-qualified Czech Republic, saving some of their best players, including Nedved, for the upcoming match against Denmark. Germany went in front on 20 minutes with a vicious volley by Ballack from the edge of the box, but Heinz equalised ten minutes later from a free-kick. Then fifteen minutes from the end, Baros, on as sub, bundled the ball home after a half-save from Kahn to put Germany out. The German coach Rudi Völler handed in his resignation after the game.
The other team to qualify for the next phase were Holland who comfortably saw off Latvia in Braga, Van Nistelrooy with two and Makaay the scorers.
Inaki Saez will officially resign as Spain's coach Friday, according to the Spanish press, after a disappointing campaign that saw Spain out at the group phase. (see guest writers)
Official UEFA figures show that there will be 15,000 Portuguese fans in the Luz Stadium for Thursday's Portugal v England quarter-final and 14,000 English. These figures are taken from the statisitics of tickets sales before the tournament which also show 4,000 tickets sold to Germans, 19,000 sold to various other countries and 1 each sold to fans in the Virgin Isles and Uganda. These numbers will change as the black market heats up.
A Portuguese man of 35 was arrested Thursday morning in possession of 74 tickets for the game. Five hundred tickets were sold Wednesday by the Portuguese Football Federation to Portuguese people who had queued for two days .
Neither of the teams should introduce major changes in their line-ups. Nuno Gomes will start in place of Pauleta, suspended.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Paulo Ferreira), Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Deco, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes
England: James, Neville, Terry, Campbell, Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Scoles, Owen, Rooney.
Italy crashed out of Euro 2004 Tuesday. Perrotta and Cassano replied to Petrov's goal, but their 2-1 win over Bulgaria was not enough to save them.
The two top spots in the group went to Sweden and Denmark who drew 2-2, the only result that could have qualified both of them should Italy have won, which they did. Tomasson got two for Denmark, Larsson with a penalty and Jonson late on got the goals for Sweden.
England will face Portugal in the quarter finals after beating Croatia 4-2 Monday. It was looking black for England early on as they went down to a scrappy goal by Kovac , but they were 2-1 up before the break through Scholes and Rooney. Rooney extended the lead before Tudor gave Croatia a glimmer of hope, snuffed out late on through Lampard.
France finished top of Group B by beating Switzerland 3-1 and will meet Greece in the quarter finals. Zidane gave France the lead on 20 minutes, but young Vonlanthen equalised for Switzerland five minutes later. Henry got a couple late on to seal the result.
In a tense, dramatic last Group game, Portugal beat their eternal rivals Spain (1-0) for the first time in 23 years to go through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2004, putting their neighbours out. Nuno Gomes got the vital goal on 57 minutes after coming on as sub at half time. (See also national team news).
From favourites to go out after a disastrous start against Greece (1-2), Portugal suddenly finished top of Group A and will play at the Estádio da Luz next Thursday against the second team in Group B, which could be any one of France, England, Croatia or Switzerland. This group will be decided Monday.
Russia beat Greece 2-1 in the other Group A game. Russia were two up through Kirchenko and Kulykin before Vryzas pulled one back for Greece before half time. Spain go out because although Greece finished on the same points as Spain, they had a superior goal difference.
Portugal's result sent tens of thousands to the streets all over Portugal. In the centre of Lisbon, police had to intervene to clear traffic lanes at the fulcral Marquês de Pombal junction where thousands of revellers were dancing and singing the Portuguese national anthem. There were, however, no reports of any violence either from Portuguese or Spanish fans.
Nuno Gomes (scorer of the winner): "I turned and shot - by instinct - I dedicate the goal to my daughter Lauroa Sofia ... The crowd were marvellous. ... You can feel the country getting behind us. ... Perhaps I'd prefer to meet France in the final - we have a squad to go all the way ... From the defeat to Greece until today, nothing has changed in terms of atmosphere in the Selecção."
Deco, voted Man of the Match: "We knew what Spain were capable of. The surprise was that they weren't expecting us to be so strong. ... The atmosphere was very good. ... We're playing well."
Felipe Scolari, Portugal coach: "The victory belonged to a group that worked for it. All of them, and the public, that have motivated us since the Greece and Russia games. ... Now I'm going home to my family, to give my wife a hug, because I don't know if I'll be able to manage anything else. ... The key [to qualification] was the second game and everything that happened in the first, which made us plan the second game better, and also the involvement of the people after the game with Russia. It was brilliant and it gave us a extra breath and attitude in the fight against Spain. We dominated - we had five chances and they ahd two or three. The spirit of the team and the Portuguese people was fantastic. I made history i that I lost games that Portugal have never lost. But the most important was this game. Whatever comes now is a bonus. There are no weak teams. ... I also want to thank Mister Saez for his kindness and sportsmanship after the game."
Iñaki Saez, Spain's coach: "Our big mistake in this tournament was not scoring more goals. ... I congratulated my friend Scolari at the end. ... Portugal did everything they had to do and were well supported by the crowd. Congratulations!"
Figo: "At certain points we were lucky, but we were fair winners. ... We were organised and well positioned on the pitch. ... As for my sibstittution, I'm not going to speak about that. The most important thing now is to savour our qualification."
Miguel: "The first objective has been achieved, and now we're going to celebrate this very special victory."
Maniche: "It's good to suffer like that. We were on our best form and deserved to win. ... The public supported us at all times and the best response we could give was this result."
Ricardo (Sporting's 'keeper): "This was the most important night for me in Alvalade. It was a magnificent game. Now we have to think of the good and less good things that happened."
Durão Barroso, Portuguese Prime Minister: "This is one of the happiest days of my life. Our team deserved this victory. ... Let's give it all we've got!"
Holland and the Czech Republic were the protagonists of probably the best, certainly the most dramatic game of the tournament so far Saturday. Holland were two up within twenty minutes through Bouma and Van Nistelrooy, but the Czechs succeeded in pulling one back on 22 through Koller. Then in a breathtaking second half, the Czech Republic turned the game on its head. Baros equalised on 70 minutes, Holland's Heitinga was sent off for a second yellow on 74 and Smicer got the winner three minutes from time.
The win means that the Czech Republic are through to the quarter-finals, and any one of the three other teams in Group D could follow them, although Germany probably have the advantage as they have to play a Czech side that will still be working off the champagne.
Germany could only draw 0-0 with a very well organised Latvian side that could have won but were denied two clear penalties by referee George Riley.
Italy are in deep trouble after dropping two points to Sweden Friday. Their first half performance deserved more than the single goal scored by Cassano on 36 minutes, following good work by Panucci on the right. But in the second half, they retreated instead of pushing home their advantage and five minutes from time they were made to pay, Swedish striker Ibrahimovic somehow backheeling a loose ball, in the air, into the net. Italy now need to win their last game against Bulgaria and hope that Sweden (with superior goal difference) beat Denmark, or that they beat Bulgaria by such a margin that they have a better goal difference than the two Scandinavian countries should they draw.
In the other Group C game, Bulgaria crashed out of the tournament with a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Denmark, Tomasson and Gronkjaer getting the goals.
The Minister overseeing Euro 2004, José Luís Arnaut, said Friday that since the beginning of the tournament, 133 people had been arrested, 68 of whom were British, with 50 cases still outstanding. Alcohol was the main reason for trouble caused, he said.
England dragged themselves back into contention for qualification with a 3-0 win over Switzerland Thursday. Rooney on 23 and 75 (his second almost an own goal by 'keeper Stiel - the ball bounced off the post, hit his head and flew in) and Gerrard on 82 put the game beyond the reach of a Swiss side reduced to ten on the hour with the expulsion of Hass for two yellows.
France went in front against Croatia through a Zidane free-kick that was deflected off defender Tudor and in. Then early in the second half, Rosso was brought down by Silvestre in the box and Rapaic scored from the spot. Prso cut inside and blasted one past Barthez on 52 and France were stunned ... until Tudor (again) mis-hit a back pass for Trezeguet to equalise on 64.
Greece drew 1-1 with Spain Wednesday to put themselves in a great position to qualify for the quarter-finals. Morientes put Spain in front on 28 minutes, Charisteas equalised on 66. Greece play the demoralised Russians in the last group game. Russia lost 0-2 to Portugal (goals from Maniche on 7 minutes, Rui Costa on 88) and go out. Portugal must win their last game against Spain to go through; a draw will see Greece and Spain qualified.
The Portuguese victory was the first over teams that have qualified for Euro 2004.
Portuguese Football Federation president Gilberto Madaíl was not at the game on doctor's orders.
In the press conference after the Greece v Spain match, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel made a specific complaint about the colour of the nets (black) at the tournament.
Italian star Francesco Totti has been suspended for three games after spitting in the face of Denmark's Poulsen during the match between the two countries. The suspension was based on television evidence.
Thirty-four fans (33 English and one Dutch) faced a hearing in Albufeira Thursday after another night of trouble in the Algarve town. All have agreed to be returned to their country.
On English 'fan', a fireman, is to serve a two-year prison sentence back in England after being identified as a ringleader of incident in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Five German fans have also been expelled, four of them voluntarily, after incidents in Porto's Ribeira area.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday: "They're a disgrace to our country."
A drunken Irish fan stole an ambulance in Portimão, Algarve, but was arrested shortly afterwards.
The official Euro 2004 site has had a record 12 million visits since March 31st.
Germany and Holland closed the first set of group matches with a 1-1 draw at the Estádio do Dragão in Group D Tuesday. Germany had most of the play and ideas, and went ahead on 29 minutes through Frings, his free kick from wide on the left finding its way unimpeded through the defence and inside the far post. Holland were finding it hard to react with any danger until Advocaat brought on Van Nistelrooy, who caused Germany a lot of problems in the air. On 80 minutes he won a ball on the right, it was crossed low to the near post and Nistelrooy swivelled and clipped the ball in past Kahn.
Earlier in the evening, Latvia gave the Czech Republic a scare with a goal just before half time through Verpakovskis. The Czech experience brought them back , however, and they equalised 20 minutes from the end through Baros. Five minutes from time, the Latvia defence went haywire and gifted Heinz the winner.
There was some trouble with England supporters in Albufeira (Algarve) in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with a dozen being arrested. Various witnesses point, however, to the heavy-handed treatment of the 'fans' by the police forces. Those arrested will face a hearing on Wednesday morning and may be expelled from the country. UEFA has said that the incidents so far recorded do not constitute sufficient reason to disqualify England from the tournament, a scenario mooted by UEFA Chairman Lennart Johansson.
Day three of Euro 2004 was a day of contrasts in Group C. In the first game in Guimarães, Denmark and Italy drew 0-0 in a finely balanced game whose outcome was mainly decided by the superb performances of the two goalkeepers, respectively Sorensen and Buffon.
Later in the evening, the game at Alvalade in Lisbon between Sweden and Bulgaria was also finely balanced for almost an hour. Ljunberg put Sweden in front on 31 minutes, but then a rapid double-strike from Larsson on 56 and 57 minutes put paid to Bulgaria's hopes. Ibrahimovic with a penalty on 78 and Allback on the stroke of time completed Bulgaria's 0-5 misery.
Off the field, one English fan has already been expelled from the country for violent conduct and another is awaiting a hearing in the Algarve, a relatively positive result so far for what was (and continues to be) a major headache for the authorities. It was in England that most trouble came, with 83 arrests following England's defeat at the hands of France, 12 in Croydon where incensed fans were in scuffles with the police.
England let a golden chance of points slip in their opening game against France. Leading by a headed goal from Lampard on 38 minutes, they missed a second -half penalty (Beckham) and made two fatal errors in added time: Heskey brought down Makelele for Zidane to stroke home the free-kick, and Gerrard sent a suicidal backpass towards James that was intercepted by Henry, who was brought down by James. Zidane did what Beckham couldn't and France had turned the game upside down.
There were isolated incidents of violence after the game. One English fan was arrested for aggression against a French fan and will be expelled from the country and banned from re-entering for a year. At the Fan Park in Lisbon's Parque das Nações there were scuffles between fans, apparently provoked by the English. But there were also many instances of joint fun between both sets of fans.
In the other Group B game, Switzerland and Croatia ground out a 0-0 draw. Switzerand's Vogel was sent off for a second yellow (by Portuguese ref Lucílio Baptista) on 50 minutes.
Many bars near the ground in Leiria, where the Switzerland v Croatia game was played, ran out of beer and had to close for the day.
Following Russia's defeat at the hands of Spain on the first day, many Russian players spent the day at the beach Sunday.
A clinic and a café in Porto have been fined over 500 euros for using the Euro 2004 logo in their windows.
Eleven people have been arrested so far for touting tickets. In the Algarve, a couple had their tickets for the Spain v Russia game stolen. they reported the fact to the police, and the police arrested the culprits ... who were sitting in the seats.
Portugal got off to the worst possible start by losing 1-2 to Greece. It was the first time a host country had lost the opening game in a European Championship. In the other Group A game, Valerón on the hour gave Spain the three points against Russia.
After seemingly endless months of preparation, Euro 2004 is finally upon us. Sixteen countries will battle it out over the next three weeks or so for the second most important football title in the world. footballportugal hopes that the tournament can be decided in the true spirit of the beautiful game, on the pitch and fair and square, and that off-the-field news is mainly positive, and ... may the best team win!
UEFA Chairman Lennart Johansson praised Portugal for their preparations in terms of security for the tournament: "It's done everything that could and should have been done in this area. ... I hope that the third greatest sporting event in the world is remembered for a long time ..." Johansson also intimated that England could be rejected from the tournament if their fans cause serious problems.
Three Boeing 707-E3A reconnaissance planes arrived at Portugal's Beja air base Friday. The planes, lent by NATO, will patrol the skies as from Saturday with an anti-terrorism brief.
The last 87 tickets for the Portugal-Greece opener were sold Friday morning. Some people had begun queueing in the early afternoon of Thursday. There were scuffles at the Headquarters of the Porto Football Association as it became clear that the number of tickets available would not be enough to go round.
Federation chairman Gilberto Madaíl issued a declaration on the official FPF site (translation by FPF): "Portugal is experiencing a unique moment with the staging of Euro 2004. One can say that, right now, the football world's attentions are focused on our Country, thanks to this event, which is actually the greatest sports competition ever organised in Portugal.
Euro 2004 attracts thousands and thousands of supporters who, for a while, turn Portugal into an even richer cultural mosaic. For every one of them there is hospitality and kindness, characteristics of our affectionate people. And, besides those visiting us, there are millions all over the world who are absorbing information related to Euro 2004. Therefore, one can well say that, in terms of reputation, we've won it already!
As to the competition itself, the 16 National Teams who battle for the European title have a dream in common: to win! We welcome them all and wish them success in Euro 2004 - in the social, ethical and sports areas, never forgetting the importance of 'Fair-Play'.
A final word to express our gratitude: to UEFA, for having trusted FPF's Project for the organisation of the championship; to the successive Governments, for their support which made this Project possible; and to all Portuguese who - in one way or another -, believed that Euro 2004 in Portugal was much more than just a dream. Thank you very much!
Each of the 12 referees at Euro 2004 will receive 18,000 euros. They are currently holed up in a hotel in Espinho, in the north of Portugal.
Italian Pierluigi Collina will referee Portugal's opening match against Greece on Saturday at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. Portuguese ref Lucílio Baptista will be in charge of the Switzerland v Croatia game Sunday.
UEFA will announce the referees for the first twelve matches of the tournament next Thursday, 10 June.
The UEFA Euro 2004 SuperStore opened in the Parque das Nações in Lisbon Friday. The store, in the Pavilion of the Future on the old Expo 98 site, is expected to attract half a million visitors during the tournament. It's open from 10.00 till 24.00.
The Portuguese Government has already recouped over 70 million euros on the tournament before a ball has been kicked, a quarter of its outlay.
Half a million flyers are being printed for distribution in and around the stadiums, outlining a code of behaviour for spectators. A law recently passed in Portugal raised the legal gravity of offences in sports venues and their respective punishments.
All tickets for Portugal's games in the Euro 2004 tournament are sold out, the Portuguese Federation announced Tuesday.
Euro 2004 will be covered by 7,500 members of the press, according to the Sociedade Euro 2004.
The ten stadiums to be used in the tournament are now in the hands of the Sociedade Euro 2004.
The Schengen agreement, which allows free movement by European citizens within the Union, will be suspended for Portugal between 26 May and 4 July (a period that takes in bothe the Euro 2004 Championship and the mammoth music festival Rock in Rio.
NATO is to provide an AWACS reconnaissance plane for the duration of the tournament.
The winner of Euro 2004 will receive 17.6 million euros, from a pool of 128 million set aside by UEFA for prizes.
Work on access to the Aveiro Municipal Stadium, to be used for two Group D matches, ground to a halt for the second week running Tuesday. Two construction companies are claiming around 5 million euros in unpaid debt before they complete the work.
A new phase of the advertising campaign for Euro 2004 started Friday. The predominant idea is that Portugal is to become a big stadium, with all its typical features grassed over as if they were a football pitch.
Hotels in Coimbra are reported to be fully booked from 17-21 June at the time of the games between England-Switzerland and Switzerland-France.
The Euro 2004 trophy (the Henry Delauney Cup) is currently on a tour of Portugal. It is in Lisbon until Sunday and will end up in Porto on June 11th, passing through twenty towns and cities on the way.
Tests at the stadiums to be used for Euro 2004 continue whenever possible. There was another one at the Estádio Municipal de Braga Sunday for the Braga v Sporting SuperLiga clash (2-3). It cannot be said that the test went off without a hitch. Before the kick-off, a 48 year old man had a heart-attack high up in one of the only two stands at the ground. Medical assistance apparently took twenty minutes to arrive, the ambulancemen couldn't use a stretcher because it wouldn't fit in the lift, the re-animation room was closed and the nearest ambulance was on the other side of the ground. The man died.
The official song of Euro 2004 is 'Força', to be released as a single in June by Nelly Furtado, who will sing it at the closing ceremony. The Canadian singer has roots in the Azores.
At the opening ceremony of Euro 2004, "The Portuguese are going to see caravelles [ancient ships] ... with the maximum number of cannons possible," FPF president Gilberto Madaíl revealed Monday. "In the different ceremonies, in the different activities, the Portugal mark has to be at the forefront so that people who come here remember a great sporting occasion but also take away something of our country, of our culture, to transmit it to the world." The closing ceremony will focus on Portugal of the future.
Greece has returned many of its allocated tickets for the opening game against Portugal on June 12th at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. They will now be open to Portugal fans, but since the demand is greater than the supply, there will be a draw.
UEFA and Sociedade Euro 2004 won a legal action Friday against a British company, Select Promotions, that was illegally promising tickets for Euro 2004. The company is now required to contact all the customers promised tickets and to offer them compensation. It must also pay 30,000 euros to UEFA to cover legal costs. UEFA's Lars-Christer Olsson said: "The courts have sent a clear message that they support UEFA in its efforts to prevent fans from being exploited." (A Bola)
Weekly broadsheet Expresso carried a report Saturday that suggested UEFA had failed Portuguese security in the test games so far held, notably the Portugal v England friendly in the Algarve. UEFA's Lars Cristen-Olsson denied there was concern, however. "We have total confidence in the way the Portuguese authorities plan to manage security," he said.
A study by the General Health Inspectorate has found that only a third of those Portuguese hospitals that have an emergency service have their own plans of emergency.
UEFA are to put up 388,000 euros to fund the Fans' Embassies that will provide support to visiting fans during Euro 2004.
Following the Madrid bombs of last week and security fears ahead of this summer's Euro 2004 tournament (and the massive 'Rock in Rio' music festival to be held in Portugal) Portuguese Prime Minister Durão Barroso insisted Tuesday that "there is not credible threat against Portugal".
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Figueiredo Lopes, confirmed Wednesday that the Schengen agreement will be put on hold over the summer so that air and land frontiers can be controlled. He said that there would be a reinforcement (20,000 extra officers) of some key and vulnerable areas such as public transport, roads, communication systems, ports and airports. He also echoed what Prime-Minister Durão Barroso had stated Tuesday by saying: "No one can absolutely guarantee that Portugal can be immune to terrorism. But there is no information that there are credible threats against Portugal."
José Luís Arnaut, the Prime-Minster's assistant in charge of sport, confirmed Monday that Portugal had received threats of terrorist action, but that the threats had been investigated and had been proved harmless.
General Leonel Carvalho, in charge of the security of the teams at Euro 2004, said, following the incidents in Madrid, that everything is being done to guarantee the safety of the teams at Euro 2004, but that there is still time to modify any precautions already in place, if necessary: "Obviously these attacks are a cause for concern, especially for us, being Spain's neighbours ... We have prepared the security for the national teams according to an evaluation of the degree of threat to them,. and naturally, what happened in Madrid may alter that evaluation, but there are still three months to go, so anything can happen. But we have sufficient means to give protection to any team that might need greater attention."
Lokomotiv Moscow want Portuguese referee Lucílio Baptista banned from officiating at Euro 2004 following the club's removal from the Champions League by Mónaco .Coach Yuri Semin complained about a penalty given to Mánaco (saved by Ovchinnikov), the sending off of Loskov and an off-side for Mónaco's goal.
Jacob Erel, the Director of UEFA competitions, announced that the players of all 16 qualifying nations will be subjected to drugs tests before Euro 2004 begins, either at the time of friendlies or even during training. There will be tests at all 31 games during the tournament also, involving threeof the starting players of each team and one or two substitutes.
UEFA also suggested that the idea of a pre-call-up will be scrapped for future editions of the tournament. Each of the 16 countries has to name up to 35 players by April 27th , from which the final squad will later be chosen. The idea will be to have just one call-up.
Lisbon City Council is trying to paper over the cracks of a mini-contoversy caused by the insensitiveness of a marketing promotion. McDonald's, one of Euro 2004's official sponsors, wanted to take up to 500 Portuguese school kids to the games as mascots ... but apparently they didn't want anyone who wasn't sound of mind and body. Lisbon City Council echoed McDonald's requirements in the circular they sent to schools (who were to recommend kids to be the mascots). The circular said that all children could apply, as long as they did not suffer from physical or mental disabilities.
Lisbon City Council has said that it was only repeating McDonald's rules, and that the circular to schools was made by an inexperienced member of the staff. McDonald's in turn blamed UEFA for setting down the rules for participation in this kind of event. UEFA denied any responsibility in what happened:
"... The selection criteria guidelines, issued by UEFA to McDonald's, includes the statement that 'children should be physically and mentally able to take part in the programme' . This statement refers only to the physical and mental capacity of the child to be able to handle the stadia environment and is specifically there to protect the children. It in no way is a reference to the actual physical and mental capacity of the child. UEFA stresses that the programme is open to all children including those with mental or physical disabilities, under the appropriate medical supervision...."
Sporting Braga have had to return to their old Estádio Primeiro de Maio while the pitch at the new Estádio Municipal is treated. The new stadium will be used again on March 31st for the Portugal v Italy friendly. Braga is just one of the stadiums to be used for Euro 2004 that have had problems with the pitch, notably the Estádios de Alvalade, do Dragão and de Aveiro.
A simulation of crowd trouble was staged at the Estádio Nacional Thursday. 70 GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) officers acted as fans, 120 controlled them with the help of horses and dogs. The simulation went from escorting the 'fans' from buses to the ground, scuffles inside the ground and 'missiles' thrown at the GNR outside the ground after the 'match'. It is estimated that there will be 26,000 members of the GNR on duty in the summer.
FIFA's International Board decided Saturday that the Silver and Golden goal system is to be discontinued ... but only after this summer's Euro 2004, where the so-called 'silver goal' will still be a means to separate two teams that are tied at full time
Over 1300 counterfeit items related to Euro 2004 were seized before the recent Portugal v England friendly, and criminal proceedings have been initiated against eight people. Tough three-way action by the Portuguese authorities, the Sociedade Euro 2004 and UEFA has been promised to tackle the sale of counterfeit merchandise in the lead-up to this summer.
The Portugal v England friendly of Wednesday went off almost without a security hitch; there were fears of hooligan action, but some had been held up in England (Birmingham) and perhaps the others are saving up for the summer ... Anyway, only five were arrested in Faro, that for assaulting a policeman. In general , there was no trouble, even in the Faro park where 1,500 watched the game on a giant screen.
One thing that didn't work so well, however, was access to the stadium for the 7,000 cars that made their way there. Many passengers left the cars and walked as queues stretched to 10 kms. The journey from Albufeira to Faro, which normally takes 30 minutes, took two-and-a-half hours. The 60 kms from Portimão to Faro took three hours. The sheer volume of traffic and poor signposting were blamed for the delays.
The German Football Federation said Wednesday that they had received 80,000 applications for tickets for the Euro 2004 tournament.
Portugal's equivalent to the Home Secretary, Nuno Magalhães, announced Monday that 2,500 English and 4,500 German fans will be prevented from travelling to Portugal in the summer. Britain will use restraining orders to keep English hooligans away from the tournament.
(Press release for a British Council/ England fan groups initiative ahead of the upcoming Portugal v England friendly in the Algarve and subsequently the Euro 2004 tournament.)
ENGLAND FANS ON DIPLOMATIC MISSION TO PORTUGAL
England fans are set to enjoy a two-day football friendly festival in Faro next week, in the run-up to England's friendly game against Portugal.
To promote cultural exchanges and foster links between England and Portuguese football fans leading up to Euro 2004, the British Council supported by England fan groups has organised a series of events to coincide with next week's friendly:
On Tuesday 17 February, a Fans Forum hosted in Faro by Kiss FM DJ Marc Damon, will see fans from England and Portugal enjoy a night of entertainment, discovering more about different fan cultures with music, guest speakers and Q&A sessions. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has recorded a special video message for fans, and proceeds from raffles and quizzes will go to a local children's refuge (see below).
The following morning, Wednesday 18 February, England fans will visit the Escola Secundaria Joao de Deus secondary school in Faro, joining English classes to launch a new Britlit English language learning module based on Nick Hornby's book 'Fever Pitch', before taking pupils on for a five-a-side match on the school's new astro-turf pitch.
Finally, before the England match, fans will have the opportunity to meet children from the children's refuge Refugio Aboim de Ascensao, where the proceeds of donations raised the evening before will be presented. It is hoped that this will be the first of many such visits to the refuge by fans in the run-up to Euro 2004.
Rosemary Hilhorst, Director of British Council Portugal said: "We want to help England fans learn more about Portugal and the football culture here by forging strong links with local fans. The British Council's aim is for this visit to be so successful that local people in Faro will be counting the days until England fans return for Euro 2004. And England fans will know they can expect an enthusiastic welcome in the summer for a fabulous festival of football."
Football fan spokesman Mark Perryman said: "England supporters in Faro will be acting as advance party fan ambassadors for Euro 2004. At our Forum with Portugal fans, we will be sharing that common language of football like 'dodgy refs' and 'that was never offside', then replacing our usual pint of beer with port. That is what friendly England is all about."
Kevin Miles, of the Football Supporter's Federation said: "The Portuguese England friendly game provides a great opportunity to set the tone for how English fans and their Portuguese hosts will interact all through the summer's tournament. Initiatives like the Fans Forum in Faro, and the other excellent work of the British Council, can play a useful and constructive role in helping create the image England fans really deserve."
The FA's Jonathan Arana said: "The Forum will provide England supporters with an opportunity to meet their hosts, to find out about the country they'll be visiting in the summer and to promote England fans."
The Faro Fans Forum has been organised by the British Council with Sporting Clube Farense, the South Side Boys, englandfans and Kiss 101.2 fm radio.
Former Sporting, West Ham, Ajax, Benfica and Atlético Madrid midfielder Dani, 27, will début as a TV presenter on State channel RTP 1, presenting a weekly programme on the Euro 2004 tournament called Vive o 2004 ('Live 2004'). Dani has been without a club since the end of last season.
Football Federation president Gilberto Madaíl said Monday that he is worried about the state of some of the pitches at the new Euro 2004 stadiums, notably FC Porto's and those at Aveiro and Leiria. "It's something that will have to be sorted out because some pitches are just not up to Euro 2004," he said.
Ten unnamed Portuguese companies have been conned out of around 10,000 euros each, paid over the Internet as a deposit for Euro 2004 tickets that do not exist. Tickets will only be available in April, and only through official sources, the authorities have warned.
More than 2,000 Englsih fans will be prevented from travelling to Portugal in the summer. Identified as hooligans, they will have their passports removed and will have to report to police stations in Britain at the time of the tournament. The authorities predict that there will be 200,000 visitors from England in the summer, 50,000 of whom will be here for the football.
The Italian squad will arrive in Portugal on June 7th. Their training headquarters will be Belenenses Restelo Stadium, on the outskirts of Lisbon.
Carlsberg, one of the official sponsors of Euro 2004, expects to invest around 10 million euros in the campaign. Carlsberg has been an official sponsor of the Euopean championship since 1988, and their agreement with UEFA lasts until 2008.
There will need to be modifications to the design of the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimarães following the violence seen there Sunday after the Vitória de Guimarães v Boavista Superliga match. A couple of dozen members of the crowd threw objects, including ripped-out seats, at the players, directors and match officials as they left the pitch through the tunnel, which at the moment is completely exposed to the stand. There have already been recommendations that some form of cover be installed. UEFA observers will also be unhappy that the handful of spectators happily continued to throw objects while the local police looked benevolently on.
The president of the Trade Union Association of Police Professionals (ASPP/PSP), Alberto Torres, declared Friday that the police may stage a national demonstration during Euro 2004 to protest about the poor conditions of the force in terms of both equipment and personnel. He went on to comment on the Secretary of State Nuno Magalhães' claim earlier in the week that there will be around four thousand police officers on duty at every match at Euro 2004: "We'd like to know if they're planning to bring anyone in from EU countries to make up those numbers. We don't know how they're going to do it, because there aren't that many PSP (urban police) officers for that kind of number.
The Prime-Minster's assistant José Luís Arnaut revealed Wednesday just how much Euro 2004 is going to cost: 611 million euros, of which 185 million come from public money. Arnaut reiterated that the public money spent has been "scrupulously respected", heading off accusations that the bill for the competition has spiralled out of hand.
The Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Nuno Magalhães, gave an idea Tuesday of security measures/considerations for Euro 2004 games:
- There will be between 600 and 1,000 officers inside the stadium at all games, and 3,000 outside.
- A study will be publisahed at the end of February into the possibility of fully restoring frontiers, especially with Spain, as a security measure.
- All games, except those between Germany and Holland and England and Croatia (both extemely high risk), are high risk, "similar to matches between the big clubs in the Portuguese SuperLiga." Sets of fans will be seated in opposite ends of the stadiums, while 5% of tickets will not be sold to allow for buffer zones on the terraces.
- To try to prevent forgeries of tickets, they will only be issued at the end of March. The design of the tickets has yet to be finalised. They will not be sold at or near the stadiums, nor will they be sold within 24 hours of kick-off.
- The Federations of the countries that qualify for the quarter and semi-finals and the final will have to apply for the number of tickets they need (a maximum of 20% of the total) no more than two hours after qualification.
Most offers of tickets for Euro 2004 on the Internet are fraudulent, Sociedade Euro2004 and the Consumer Institute warned Friday. The company in charge of organising the competition said that it would take legal action against any entities fraudulently offering tickets for sale, and that it had already managed to force many such companies to remove offers, and had already taken legal action against one company. FPF and Sociedade Euro2004 president Gilberto Madaíl stressed that the Sociedade denies any responsibility should fans be caught out by these Internet offers.
In the most serious cases, companies are offering packages including flights, accomodation and tickets for four times the nominal value. "These sites are offering tickets that they don't have, and will never have," said Madaíl.
He pointed out that in the Internet reservation process, applicants could only reserve a maximum of four tickets, which would carry their name and could only be sold on to relatives, colleagues and friends at face value, otherwise the holders would be guilty of the crime of speculation. (infordesporto)
Laurentino Dias, president of the Parliamentary Committee overseeing preparations for Euro 2004, said Tuesday that he has guarantees from the clubs and city councils involved in the ten stadiums that all accesses to the stadiums will be ready by the end of February. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl had intimated Monday that this was a major problem with the otherwise completed stadiums (which has already caused serious problems before games at, for example, the Luz, Aveiro and Braga) and that if this vital aspect were not sorted out in good time, then stadiums could be excluded from the competition. Sr. Dias said Tuesday that this would only happen "in extraordinary circumstances."
According to the Attorney General's Office, the Estádio D Afonso Henriques belongs to Vitória de Guimarães and not to the local Municipal Council. The club had asked for the Office's opinion to clear up the controversial question, but there is now the problem of the funds that the EU granted for the modernisation of the stadium - roughly 3.7 million euros . This could only be awarded to local governments and not to clubs, so the question now arises: will the money have to be returned, and who will pay?
A quarter of the estimated 25,000 beds in the North of Portugal (in accomodation that will serve the two stadiums in Porto and those in Braga and Guimarães) have been reserved, according to the Association for Development of Tourism in the North. (ADETURN)
One of the domestic criticisms aimed at Portugal organising Euro 2004, that there is not enough potential for most Portuguese clubs to draw enough support to fill the ten sparkling new Euro 2004 stadiums, gained some credence this week. Just 10,000 watched Beira-Mar v Gil Vicente Monday in the 30,000-seat Aveiro Municipal Stadium , and there were even fewer at Friday's game in the same stadium against SuperLiga rivals Marítimo (the teams are in 5th and 6th place respectively). And on Wednesday, there were no more than 500 at the also-30,000-seat Leiria Municipal Stadium to watch União lose to Nacional in the Taça.
The Portuguese airline TAP is to name an aircraft after the country's footballing icon Eusébio. Its livery will also incorporate the Euro 2004 logo. The Airbus A319 will go into service at the beginning of February.
The Home Office Secretary of State Nuno Magalhães said Wednesday that all the games at Euro 2004 will be regarded as potentially "high risk". He stressed the mobility factor of security forces to cope with possible trouble spots in various parts of the country.
The Home Minister, Nuno Magalhães, said Wednesday that the PSP (Policia de Segurança Pública - urban police) and the GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana - rural and roads) are to receive new material to the value of 16.5 million euros to help their work at Euro 2004. The money will be spent on equipment like vehicles, water cannons, truncheons and protective equipment and clothing.
Hermínio Loureiro, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, met with representatives of the Association of Portuguese Hotels Tuesday and learned that on average, hotels had put their prices up by 25% ahead of the forthcoming European Championship, and that Portugal has 250,000 beds available, for a total visiting population of 350,000.
Leiria's Municipal Stadium underwent tests on security procedures Wednesday. 1,500 volunteers were the dummies for steward and police action.
The Estádio do Algarve was inaugurated in a footballing sense Thursday with a game between local rivals Louletano and Farense. Fifteen thousand saw Louletano win 1-0, Bráulio on 35 minutes the first to score in the new stadium. The stadium had already been officially declared open in November, but without any special celebration. The Estádio do Algarve will have its first full test of access , security, etc. on February 18th with the friendly between Portugal and England.
The final two stadiums for Euro 2004 were inaugurated Tuesday with friendlies against Spanish opposition and firework displays.
Boavista's Bessa was only two thirds full, perhaps because the club's fans have grown accustomed to being in it as it was built stand by stand but continued to have games played there.
The Estádio Municipal de Braga, on the other hand, where Sporting Braga will play, inaugurated later in the evening, was full of fans wanting to have a first hand look at the most beautiful of the ten stadiums built or revamped for next summer's competition. Built into a hillside quarry, the stadium is indeed magnificent, but as with others built for Euro 2004 (notably Sporting's and FC Porto's), the playing surface was less than perfect, not helped by the constant rain that fell throughout the match.
Tuesday sees the final two official inaugurations of stadiums to be used for Euro 2004. In Porto, Boavista play Málaga at the fully completed Bessa, while later in the evening and a little further north, Sporting Braga face Celta de Vigo in the revolutionary Estádio Municipal de Braga.
Alberto Souto, the Mayor of Aveiro, has called upon people of the town to show their indignation at the Germany v Holland group game being trasnsferred to Porto. "I'd like an objective reason to be given for the decision," he said, since it seems that there was never any doubt raised about security for games in the town.
UEFA has decided that each federation competing at Euro 2004 will receive at least 20% of the tickets for the games in which they are involved. If one of the federations in a given game asks for less than 20%, the remainder of their share may pass to the other federation involved. In an attempt to restrict the sale of the tickets on the black market,.UEFA also decided that the name of the buyer of the tickets from the federations, who will be allowed a maximum of four, will be printed on the tickets.
The Leiria Municipal Assembly voted Thursday to force the City Council to renegotiate the deal struck between the Council and União de Leiria, who will be using the local Estádio Municipal, built to be used at Euro 2004. The deal, dating from November, involves an annual payment to the club by the municipal company in charge of administering the stadium, Leirisport, of up to 1,250,000 euros, as well as exploitation costs (870,000 euros a year), depreciation (500,000 a year), costs of organizing games and taxes on receipts.
The Estádio Municipal de Aveiro was inaugurated Thursday with a friendly between local side Beira-Mar (who will be using it for their home games) and Spanish side Osasuna. The game ended 1-1 , Muñoz putting Osasuna in front in the second half and Carlinhos levelling. It went to penalties to see who would take the Troféu Mário Duarte - it was Beira-Mar (4-3).
The PSD (Partido Social Democrata) of Braga has challenged the cost of the new Estádio Municipal de Braga, which will be used next summer. The PSD claim that the real cost is in fact over 100 million euros, while the official cost is 83. Even so, the official estimate means that the stadium is by far the costliest per seat of the ten built for the tournament, around 2,700 euros, compared to 1,900 for FC Porto's Estádio do Dragão and 1,800 for Benfica's Luz.
The president of the National Association of Professional Firefighters has criticised safety preparations (or the lack of them) for Euro 2004. Speaking to the Parliamentary Commission set up to monitor work being done for the competition, Fernando Curto said: "There have to be inventories of all existing vehicles, drills in the stadiums, visits to the stadiums, reinforcement of personnel ... things that haven't been done yet ... Ninety per cent of the firefighters are ready to act at the venues, but they don't know the internal plans of emergency and I'm sure that these are not totally ready yet, apart from the fact that there is no articulation between the municipal plans of emergency and those of the stadiums."
Meanwhile, António Laranjo, Director of the tournament, told the same Commission that everything was under control and that "the firefighters have been kept informed from the word go."
Beira-Mar will inaugurate the Estádio Municipal de Aveiro Thursday with a game against high-flying Osasuna of the Spanish League.
The Estádio do Algarve will be properly inaugurated with a friendly between local clubs Farense and Louletano, both of the Segunda B, on January 1st. The stadium was officially inaugurated without a game on November 23rd and will host the Portugal v England friendly on February 18th.
The third and final wave of Internet sales of tickets got under way Tuesday. There are just ten games that still have tickets available, and they are:
Estádio Mário Duarte (Aveiro):
Czech Republic v Latvia (15 June)
Estádio Municipal Braga:
Bulgaria v Denmark (18 June)
Estádio Algarve (Faro-Loulé):
Russia v Greece (20 June)
Estádio D. Afonso Henriques (Guimarães):
Denmark v Italy (14 June)
Italy-Bulgaria (22 June)
Estádio Magalhães Pessoa (Leiria)
Switzerland v Croatia (13 June)
Croatia v France (17 June)
Estádio José Alvalade (Lisbon):
Sweden v Bulgaria (14 June)
Estádio do Dragão (Porto):
Italy v Sweden (18 June)
Estádio do Bessa (Porto):
Greece v Spain (16 June)
Portugal's neighbours Spain will be installed in and around Braga,.in the north of Portugal, for the duration of Euro 2004. They will stay at the Hotel da Falperra, in Santa Cristina de Longos, and train at the Estádio 1.º de Maio in Braga, Sporting Braga's home ground until now.
The draw for Euro 2004 took place in Lisbon Sunday. Portugal are in the same group as eternal rivals Spain, Greece and Russia. England and France will play each other in the group stage, as will Germany and Holland.
The opening game of the tournament will be Portugal v Greece, at Porto's Estádio do Dragão at 17.00 on June 12th, 2004.
The groups and positions in the groups look like this:
Sporting Braga will inaugurate the city's new stadium on December 30th with a friendly against Celta de Vigo. The 30,000-seater stadium is unique in that it has stands on only two sides of the pitch and nestles in the side of a hill.
The owners of the Solplay Hotel near Lisbon, which will host the English squad next summer, have denied that it may have to close because of debts to the constructor. The company that runs the hotel had full page ads published in all the major national newspapers Wednesday to explain their position. There had been fears that England might change their choice to a hotel in Spain if this one fell through, which would be a humiliating blow for the organisers.
200 days to go!
The Estádio do Algarve was inaugurated Sunday. There was no game played and there was only a simple official opening with fireworks, although an estimated 10 ,000 were there to witness it. The stadium cost a total of 35 million euros to build and will host its first game on February 18th of next year, a friendly against England. It was the eighth of the ten stadiums to be inaugurated, just leaving those of Braga and Boavista.
Portugal are top of the pots that will dictate the final groups for the Euro 2004. The pots are:
A: PORTUGAL, France, Sweden, Czech Republic
B: Italy, Spain, England, Germany.
C: Holland, Croatia, Russia, Denmark
D: Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece, Latvia
The draw for the group stages of the tournament will take place on November 30th.
The final five countries to qualify for next summer were found after the second legs of the play-offs Wednesday: Holland beat Scotland 6-0 after losing the first leg 0-1 in Scotland; Russia , who beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff after the first leg had been drawn 0-0; Croatia won 1-0 in Slovenia after a 1-1 draw in the first leg; surprise team Latvia , who drew 2-2 in Turkey after having won the first leg 1-0; and Spain, who waltzed past Norway 3-0 in Oslo after scraping a 2-1 win in Spain. While the Portuguese organisers will be breathing a huge sigh of relief that Spain got through, so important was their contribution going to be in terms of bums on seats, they will be disappointed in the other three results: Latvia will bring few fans, Russia also, and while the Dutch normally have a good following, they also have a dangerous hooligan element. The Scots have huge support and have proved harmless on the recent trips of their clubs to Portugal and Seville (for the UEFA Cup final). In footballing terms, Holland will be the more welcome of the two sides.
The final 16, then:
PORTUGAL, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany, Greece, England, Bulgaria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Croatia, Holland, Russia and Latvia.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said Monday that a few months ago there had been a risk that Euro 2004 would not be played in Portugal given the doubts about the country's ability to pull it off. "I personally had quite a job at an international level to get UEFA to keep Euro 2004 in Portugal," he told radio station Antena 1. "Things got to a point where there was already a country, and it wasn't Spain, that was absolutely ready to take on the organisation of Euro 2004 if Portugal failed."
The five play-offs for the competition are finely balanced after the first legs. Despite historic rivalry with the Spanish, the Portuguese, at least the organisers of the competition, are hoping for an aggregate win for Spain over Norway, given the revenue that would be lost should neighbours Spain not qualify. The results of the first legs were:
Spain 2-1 Norway
Russia 0-0 Wales
Scotland 1-0 Holland
Latvia 1-0 Turkey
Croatia 1-1 Slovenia
Three Euro 2004 stadiums will be inaugurated in the next ten days. On Sunday, FC Porto play Barcelona in a friendly at the Estádio do Dragão ('Stadium of the Dragon' - Porto's nickname). On November 15th, the Aveiro Municipal Stadium will be the venue for a Portugal v Greece friendly, and on November 19th it will be the turn of the Leiria Municipal Stadium to host Portugal v Kuwait in another friendly to prepare the Selecção for next summer.
The Euro 2004 trophy will be on show in Lisbon on November 8th and 9th at the Lisbon branch of the Spanish Department Store chain, El Corte Inglês.
The Parliamentary Committee set up to monitor the progress of the stadiums for Euro 2004 will discuss November 11th and 12th the question of the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães. Doubts have arisen as to who is the rightful owner of the stadium, the local city council or the club Vitória de Guimarães.
The Secretary of State for Health, Carlos Martins, told Portuguese press agency Lusa Saturday that Portugal had acquired a quantity of smallpox vaccinations to meet a possible terrorist bio-attack at Euro 2004. The actual quantity was not revealed, but it would be enough only to treat those who came into contact with the disease.
A worker died Friday when he fell 15 metres while working on the Aveiro Municipal Stadium. They are putting the finishing touches to a stadium that will be inaugurated November 15th with the friendly Portugal v Greece.
The Aveiro Municipal Council, ultimately responsible for the Municipal Stadium which will be used for Euro 2004, have denied rumours that there is a 'structural problem' with the stadium that would keep it from being inaugurated as scheduled on November 15th with the friendly between Portugal and Greece.
The visit of Ernie Walker, head of the UEFA Stadiums Commission, for yet another check on the Euro 2004 Stadiums, was an opportunity for the Portuguese Football Federation to announce that the friendly against England on February 18th will take place at the Algarve Stadium, located between Faro and Loulé.
Germany, who qualified directly from the group phase, have already booked their hotel in the Algarve, in the south of Portugal. They have reserved 109 rooms in the luxury Ria Park Garden, which has adjoining sports facilities.
The most important aspect of the draw for the play-offs to Euro 2004 for the Portuguese - and for the financial success of the tournament - was who Spain would get. It's vital that they qualify for economic reasons - half of the visitors to Portugal will be Spanish if they qualify. In the event, it could have been worse - the Spanish got Norway, and they will be welcoming that draw rather than Holland or Turkey, for example. The whole draw is as follows, to be played on the 15th (16th) and 18th (19th) November.
The picture of who'll be playing in Portugal next summer came a little more into focus Saturday with the last of the qualifying group games. Denmark, Switzerland, Greece, Germany, England, Italy all secured a place in the finals, while in the respective groups Norway, Russia, Spain, Scotland, Turkey and Wales all confirmed a play-off place, along with Latvia, Slovenia, Holland and Croatia.
Definitely out, perhaps surprisingly, are the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Belgium.
The eleven countries definitely qualified so far, then, are: Portugal, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Bulgaria, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece, Germany and England.
The Municipal Stadium at Aveiro was officially completed Monday, the fourth of ten Euro 2004 stadiums to be operational. The 31,200-seater stadium, which will be used by SuperLiga side Beira-Mar , cost 46 million euros to build from scratch and joins Coimbra, Alvalade XXI (Sporting, also from scratch) and Guimarães on the list of completed stadiums.
The Euro 2004 organisers have sent a mail-shot to every household in Portugal to coincide with a nationwide publicity campaign to generate interest in the competition amongst the Portuguese.
The mail-shot was a letter from National Team Coach Felipe Scolari:
We're entering the final phase of UEFA EURO 2004, the most important sporting event ever to take place in Portugal.
Portugal and all the Portuguese are going to be playing.
I learned a long time ago that it's not enough to have solid defenders, a midfield full of great players or the best forward line to get the goals.
Both on the pitch and in the day to day life of the country, it's only with real teamwork that we can make sure of victory.
A victory that will be to show a modern and enterprising Portugal, to share the wealth and diversity of the country with the thousands of tourists that are going to visit us, and to energize the life of the cities that will be venues for the event.
As National Team Coach, I believe that the tactics for Portugal can be one and one only.
Let's play as a great team, united, cohesive and with a winning spirit.
Let's put on the pitch our capacity for work, our will and our determination.
Let's take advantage of this great opportunity to show Portugal to the world and to receive warmly those who are going to visit us.
For this, all the Portuguese, from North to South, are called up for UEFA EURO 2004.
Now it's your turn.
You're called up!
A hug from your friend.
Benfica hope to inaugurate their new Luz stadium on October 25th. Marítimo have agreed to postpone the game they were to play against Benfica in Madeira on the same weekend. The opponents for the inauguration have yet to be announced, but the club is hoping to get either real Madrid or AC Milan.
FC Porto's Estádio do Dragão will be inaugurated with a friendly match on November 16th, "pitch permitting", according to club president Pinto da Costa.
UEFA decided Thursday that Portugal will be one of the seeds at the November draw for the EURO 2004 Finals. The other definite seed will be France, and the two others from 14 will be the teams with the best performance coefficient.
UEFA's Executive Committee decided in Bratislava Wednesday that the play-offs for qualification to EURO 2004 will not be seeded.
The Associação Sindical dos Profissionais da Polícia (ASPP) (Police Union) warned Wednesday that 3,000 extra officers would be needed for EURO 2004, apart from the 900 new officers who will be receiving training as from this month.
Ten billion TV viewers are predicted for EURO 2004, three billion more than in 2000, according to EBS (European Broadcasting Service), comprising the State TV and radio stations RTP and RDP. Each of the 31 games at EURO 2004 will be covered by at least 19 cameras.
UEFA's Executive Committee will be discussing Wednesday and Thursday the basis on which the play-offs for EURO 2004 will be played. The question is: will there be seeds (this time) or no seeds (as in 2000).
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said Monday that between 70 and 75% of the tickets available for EURO 2004 have been taken up, and he expects that to rise to 100% by the end of the year. Over 270,000 were sold in the first phase, up until June 16th, and another 140,000 are available until November 24th.
The Coimbra Municipal Stadium will be inaugurated Friday evening. The 30,000-seater stadium will be used for three games at EURO 2004 and will also be used by local club Académica , currently of the SuperLiga. The Rolling Stones will play there on September 27th. It is the third EURO 2004 stadium to be fully functional after Sporting's Alvalade XXI and Vitória de Guimarães' Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, although the latter has had some problems with its licence.
A Portuguese tradition at football stadiums, and one which will be very difficult to eradicate, is that of an adult being able to take in children without tickets. This has already caused some problems at recent games, notably the international against Kazakhstan and the SuperTaça between FC Porto and União de Leiria. The organisers of the tournament are considering printing the warning on tickets that children will not be allowed into games without a ticket.
The organisers are still recruiting volunteers to help with the running of the tournament. They have 4,300 already, of a projected need for 5,000, but they want to recruit more to be on the safe side. Of all the areas involved, the Algarve is the slowest getting off the ground in this respect.
Five teams have now qualified for the EURO 2004 finals: Portugal, of course, as hosts, and after Wednesday's results, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Bulgaria . Other teams are in a great position to qualify directly, with just one game left in each group, notably England, Italy and Germany who all now head their respective groups. Neighbours Spain , the team that the organisers most want to qualify from an economic point of view because they will bring many visitors to the country, struggled to beat the Ukraine 2-1 and still trail Greece in their group.
The Parliamentary Group that is monitoring preparations for the competition, notably the progress of the new stadiums, will hear the Secretary of State for Sport Hermínio Loureiro and the president of the FPF Gilberto Madaíl on the subject of Vitória de Guimarães' D. Afonso Henriques stadium. Irregularities have emerged concerning the licence for the stadium, creating doubts over whether it can be used for the competition.
Five national teams will be able to stamp their tickets Wednesday for EURO 2004. France need only to draw with Slovenia, while Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic have only to win to guarantee qualification.
Ernie Walker and his stadium inspectors are back in Portugal for yet another round of the ten stadiums to be used for Euro 2004. On Tuesday they visited the Stadium of the Algarve in the south, and on Wednesday Benfica's and Sporting's stadiums in Lisbon and Leiria's in the centre. The only question mark seems to be over the Municipal Stadium in Leiria ; UEFA need to be certain that it will be completed by September 30th, the deadline.
Football magazine Doze ('Twelve') suggested this week that UEFA were considering discarding two of the stadiums lined up for EURO 2004 to make it eight to be used. Apparently, five miilion euros could be saved per stadium in operational costs alone. However, FPF president Gilberto Madaíl was quick to refute the possibility.
Chairman of the UEFA Stadiums Committee, Ernie Walker, returns to Portugal at the beginning of September for yet another inspection of the stadiums to be used.
A further 15,000 tickets were sold over the weekend in the second phase of ticketing for EURO 2004. There are now only 95,000 left.
30,000 tickets were sold in the first six hours of the second phase of ticketing for the EURO 2004 tournament Friday. The phase continues until November 24th. The semi-finals and final are already sold out.
The second phase of ticket sales for EURO 2004 swings into action Friday. 270,000 tickets have already been sold from applications for 500,000, and another 130,000 now go on sale. "Sales have been an enormous success," said FPF president Gilberto Madaíl. (See www.euro2004.com)
Boavista president João Loureiro said Wednesday that the Bessa stadium in Oporto is in danger of being left out of EURO 2004 because of the time being taken by the city council to OK the construction of access roads near the ground.
UEFA and Adidas have signed a deal for the sports firm to supply equipment, kits and balls for next year's competition.
The Parliamentary Committee accompanying the construction/ works on the stadiums to be used at Euro 2004 has voiced its concern that Boavista's Bessa Stadium may be deficient in terms of access. An access road near the stadium, in the built up western side of the the city of Oporto, has yet to gain full planning permission from the City Council and is only forecast for completion in April 2004, just two months before the start of the competition.
Portuguese fashion designer Isilda Pelicano has been awarded the contract to create the 'uniforms' of Portuguese players and officials at Euro 2004, it was announced Thursday. the clothes will be made with Portuguese materials and will be in tones of brown, to match the Euro 2004 logo and to escape from the normal grey.
The first phase of the sales of tickets for Euro 2004 ended on Monday, with over half a million reservations made, 40% of them from Portugal. Some games have been over subscribed already and will go to a draw to see who gets the tickets. The next phase begins in August when the organisers will reveal which games still have tickets available. In this next phase, sales will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
A Director of União de Leiria, Vasco Pinto Leite, said Wednesday that the club has renewed its protocol with the local council of nearby town Marinha Grande to use their municipal stadium for its games next season, this despite the fact that a new 30,000-seater stadium is being built in Leiria for Euro 2004. According to Pinto Leite, Leirisport, the public company in charge of the administration of the Leiria stadium (Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa), is asking an exhorbitant rent to use the stadium.
Ernie Walker and the UEFA inspectors visited the stadiums in Coimbra, Aveiro and Oporto (FC Porto) Wednesday. He was, as ever, upbeat, but it seems that the Aveiro stadium is running a little behind. It should be ready in time, though, Walker believes.
UEFA's Ernie Walker is in Portugal again to cast an eye over the stadiums to be used in the tournament. Tuesday he visited the Stadium of the Algarve, Alvalade XXI (Sporting) and the new Luz (Benfica). He seemed generally satisfied with progress on all three, and said of the 65,000-seater Luz: "This stadium is world class, worthy of a final of the Champions League."
As from Thursday 12/06/03, there is exactly one year left to the start of the biggest sporting event ever staged in Portugal: The EURO 2004 Championship.
Ernie Walker and the UEFA Stadium inspectors will be back between June 17th and 19th to visit nine of the ten stadiums for Euro 2004. They will not visit Vitória de Guimarães stadium as it is more or less fully completed.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said Wednesday that there is not need to worry about delays in the construction of the Euro 2004 stadiums, namely those at Aveiro, Braga and Leiria (see below), since they will still be ready by September, within UEFA's requirements. Meanwhile, the company responsible for the Municipal Stadium of Leiria, Leirisport, has denied that there are any delays.
José Luís Arnaut, the Under-Minister responsible for Euro 2004, has revealed that three of the stadiums to be used are way behind schedule to the tune of ten, four and ten weeks respectively: Aveiro, Leiria and Braga.
The inauguration of the Estádio Municipal de Coimbra, originally intended for July 4th, will probably be pushed back because of delays in the completion of the commercial and residential complex surrounding it, the City Council announced Wednesday. After Euro 2004, the stadium will be the home of Académica.
Over 100,000 tickets for Euro 2004 have been sold on the Internet in just one week. There were 23,000 requests for tickets, England, Holland and Germany leading the charge. The Portuguese have reserved 24% of the tickets, not counting those ordered at post offices.
For seven weeks until June 16th, 450,000 tickets (from a total of 1,200m) will be made available over the Internet and elsewhere for the finals of Euro 2004. The prices of tickets vary between 35 euros and 270. Addressing the home market, FPF president Gilberto Madaíl appealed to the Portuguese to "not leave everything till the last minute" (a reputation they have).
Some of the main points with respect to tickets are the following:
- There is a Follow My Team module, where you can reserve a ticket for all the games your team will play in, with the chance to get a refund if they do not play in all the games foreseen. this can only be booked on the Internet;
- A single person can apply for only four tickets per game, and only one game per day;
- Forms for reserving tickets are available on the official site: www.euro2004.com, or at Portuguese post offices, at the FPF offices in Lisbon, at regional association offices and at the ten stadiums lined up for the tournament;
- If demand outstrips supply, allocation will be by draw;
- Tickets will be delivered at least two weeks before the respective game;
- Excess tickets will be sold over the Internet in the autumn of this year;
- You can pay for the tickets by credit card or by bank transfer.
FC Porto's Antas Stadium (Opening match and semi-final of Euro 2004) will not be completed until October 2003, a month later than expected, Vice-president of the club Angelino Ferreira said Thursday. The delay is down to problems with access and the fact that work was halted for 32 days last year following a dispute with the City Council. (A Bola On-line)
Tickets for Euro 2004 will be on sale on the Internet as from April 28th, UEFA announced in Nyon, Switzerland Wednesday. Internet sales will end on June 16th. Over half a million tickets will be made available to the general public
Portuguese group Soporcel/Portucel, manufacturers of paper products, and more specifically their brand of printing paper Navigator, are the latest sponsor of Euro 2004.
Meanwhile, the tournament mascot Kinas is under attack once again, this time by the Partido Socialista, who said the name: "tramples on the dignity of the Portuguese language and nacional symbols." Kinas is a corruption of the Portuguese Quinas, the little blue shields on the national flag.
The president of the FPF, Gilberto Madaíl, said Wednesday (to SportTV) that despite slight delays here and there, everything is on course in terms of preparations for Euro 2004. Meanwhie, Braga City Council has had to extend more money to the builders of the municipal stadium there, which has gone 7.5 % over budget.
Ernie Walker and his UEFA Stadiums Commission will be returning to Portugal at the end of June for yet an other inspection of the ten stadiums to be used for the finals of Euro 2004.
The official euro2004 mascot Kinas was presented to the public Saturday. He is different from many mascots of recent euros in that he is supposed to be human and not animal: "He's a little boy who was born in a Portuguese village and who loves playing football. like any youngster of his age, he's fun and irreverent ..." But Kinas almost didn't see the light of day. The company Swedish Match, owner of the brand name Quinas, threatened legal action against the use of the name. But it seems the constestation has burnt out ... for now.
The official euro2004 web site will be launched Saturday, hopefully clarifying some of the confusion existing about information like ticketing. The address is www.euro2004.com.
The Euro 2004 mascot will be officially unveiled at the Portugal v Brazil friendly Saturday. the mascot is called Kinas; the Portuguese team is nicknamed A Selecção das Quinas (the small blue shields on the Portuguese flag).
The president of the RTRL, a regional tourism organisation, has warned that Aveiro does not have enough hotel beds for the two group games that will be played in the city. There are currently around 3,000 but Encarnação Dias says that the ideal number would be nearer 16,000.
The Executive Committee of UEFA, meeting in Rome, said Wednesday that they had received favourable reports on the progress of proparations for the Euro 2004 Championship. 'There is a small delay in one or two stadiums, but that will be sorted out soon," said Lennart Johansson.
The UEFA Executive Committee will meet next Tuesday and Wednesday in Rome to discuss progress on the Euro 2004 project. There will be a press conference Wednesday to summarise their findings.
The UEFA Stadiums Commission completed its tour of the ten stadiums Friday with a visit to the Braga municipal stadium. This stadium will be, in the words of the head of the Commission Ernie Walker , "unique in the world". It will have a capacity of thirty thousand, all seated on two sides of the ground. It is built into the side of a hill, and the rocky end will hold a video screen that will be the largest of its kind in Europe: 30 metres wide and nine deep. The tour went off without a hitch, except for some doubts being cast over access to the stadiums (roads and transport). There was one piece of good news in this respect Friday. Valentim Loureiro, in charge of the Porto Metro , confirmed that the 1.2 km stretch of the system from the mainline station of Campanhã to the Antas stadium will be competed in time for the tournament. The inspectors will be back in June.
The UEFA Stadiums Commission, headed by Scotsman Ernie Walker, is once again in Portugal to inspect the ten stadiums being built or upgraded. The Estádio do Algarve was first on the list Wednesday, followed by Alvalade and the Luz. So far Walker seems to be impressed, but has mentioned a worry about access to the stadiums, still a bone of contention between clubs and local councils. Thursday the Commission visits the stadiums in Leira, Coimbra, Aveiro and the Antas in Porto, then on Friday, the Bessa in Porto, Braga and Guimarães.
Reservations of tickets for Euro 2004 can be made on the Internet as from April 28th, it was announced Tuesday. Four hundred thousand tickets will be made available in the first wave, with people allowed a maximum of four each. (See UEFA site)
Those responsible for the ten stadiums to be used signed contracts Monday ceding the stadiums to UEFA for the duration of the tournament. UEFA will pay a total of 17 million euros for the use of the stadiums.
The Portuguese were surprised Sunday with the image of José Camacho, Spanish coach of Benfica, being on the front cover of a brochure supposedly promoting Euro 2004 in Portugal , launched at a trade fair in Berlin.
Sports daily A Bola suggested Friday the number of games to be played in each of the venues of Euro 2004. The opening game will be at the Antas (FC Porto) on June 16th, the Final at the Luz (Benfica) on July 4th. (See Stadiums)
Ernie Walker and his inspection team will be back to check up on the stadiums between March 12th and 14th. On the 12th they'll visit the Algarve stadium, the Luz and Alvalade (Lisbon); on March 14th they'll visit Leiria, Coimbra and Aveiro; and on March 14th, they'll move north to see the antas, Bessa, Guimarães and Braga.
The Portuguese Government are practically sure to suspend the Schengen agreement for the duration of the tournament. This will mean that the border with Spain will once again be controlled by customs and security officials. Portugal is preparing to re-recruit 200 border guards for the event. (A Bola)
The draw for the finals of Euro 2004 will take place in the Pavilhão Atlântico in Lisbon at 11.00 on Sunday, November 30th, 2003. The 'Pavillion', which is on the eastern side of Lisbon, was the centre-piece of the World Fair Expo'98. The final teams to be qualified will be known after the play-offs of November 16th and 19th.
The official mascot for Euro 2004 will be unveiled at the Portugal v Brazil friendly, to be played in Oporto on March 29th.
The car make Hyundai has joined the list of official sponsors of the competition
The Parliamentary Commission that is looking into progress being made on the ten stadiums that will host the Euro 2004 champoinship is worried about access to them, chairman of the Commission Laurentino Dias said Thursday. Of special concern are the Antas (FC Porto), Bessa (Boavista) and Luz (Benfica) Stadiums. With regard to the latter, there has not even been a protocol signed yet between club, Lisbon City Council and Government. "At this moment, we need to break the national sprint record to get the protocol signed, the bids for the job in and the work finished in time for the start of the Championship, which is going to be very, very difficult," said Dias.
The Portuguese government will spend almost 80 million euros just on access to the ten stadiums being prepared for the competition. Eleven million will be for Benfica's Luz stadium alone, Vasco Lynce, president of Portugal2004, the company in charge of the local administration of preparations, revealed Wednesday.
Meanwhile, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa, work on Metro (underground) access to the New Antas stadium in Oporto can get started relatively shortly if bureaucratic hold-ups are unblocked. If there is not much more delay, the route can be finished by May 2004.
Work to upgrade Francisco Sá Carneiro, the airport that serves Oporto, will not now be completed in time for Euro 2004, it was revealed Tuesday by the chairman of the Portuguese Airports Authority. Work to double the airport's capacity from three to six million passengers a year was originally set to end in the middle of 2003 , now the end of 2004. The airport is in Maia, 17 kms from Oporto.
The president of the Porto Metro, Valentim Loureiro, who is also president of the Liga, said Monday that the underground connection between the main station of Campanhã in the south-east of the city and the new Antas Stadium in the east would only be ready by May of next year, and that only if the Government takes action immediately . The link is thought vital for access to the 52,000-seater Antas, one of the major stadiums to be used at Euro 2004 - it will hold the opening match and one of the semi-finals.
The Under-17 European Championship, to be held in Viseu and Vila Real in May, will be used as a dummy run for some of the elements of Euro 2004, namely the question of stewards, volunteers and television coverage. Eurosport will televise nine games, while Portuguese state channel RTP will cover Portugal's games, the semi-finals and the final.
Gilberto Madaíl, president of the Portuguese Football Federation, took advantage of the press conference to announce a new sponsor of Euro 2004 (Galp Energia ) to say that fans will be able to reserve tickets for the competition as from April, although "the sale of the respective tickets will only take place maybe two months after that." The price of tickets has not yet been fixed, but the suggestion is that it won't exactly be compatible with Portuguese pockets: ".. .People have to understand that it's not only the Portuguese that are going to watch the games ... We can't expect very low prices, but we'll try to make them as accessible as possible," Madaíl said.
Galp, the State-run oil and gas company, is the second national sponsor of the competition after the Post Office (CTT). There will be four other national sponsors, yet to be announced.
Euro 2004 has a new sponsor. Mathieu Spreners, a member of the Executive Committe of UEFA announced in Tokyo Thursday that NTT/VERIO will be lending is name to the tournament. The company is already sponsoring the UEFA Cup Final.
The Estádio do Algarve will be inaugurated with a game involving the National Team, FPF president Gilberto Madaíl announced Friday. The exact date and the oppositon are yet to be revealed, but the stadium is due to be inaugurated any time between June and August of this year.
Lisbon Mayor Pedro Santana Lopes, former president of Sporting, criticised Wednesday the delay in beginning the campaign to promote Euro 2004: "I think it's surreal what's happened with the promotion of Euro 2004 ... At this point, everything should have been done. Germany is already promoting the 2006 World Cup. We should have started in 2001, but c'est le Portugal.".
Former international referee, Vítor Pereria, who took part in the last World Cup, has been appointed Refereeing Coordinator for Euro 2004. He is currently a member of UEFA's Refereeing Commission.
Sports Minister José Luís Arnaut met separately with the presidents of the Quatro Grandes (Benfica, FC Porto, Sporting and Boavista) Monday to discuss security procedures that will be needed in and around the stadiums during Euro 2004.
Meanwhile, Boavista made known in a press release their discontent at what they see as favouritism towards FC Porto by the Porto City Council with respect to land ceded to the clubs for work on their respective stadiums, both of which are to be used during the tournament.
Television presenter Carlos Cruz, at the helm of Portugal's successful bid for Euro 2004, has been arrested in connection with the nationwide paedophilia scandal involving the Casa Pia , a chartiable institution for orphans.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl made assurances Wednesday that the cheapest seats during the group games of Euro 2004 would not be as high as suggested by the national daily Diário de Notícias . He promised that the Class C ticket (after A and B) would cost 35 euros, and not 50. There was some unease after the rumour that tickets would be as high as 50 euros: the minimum salary in Portugal is around 350 euros, and the spectre of empty stadiums loomed.
Tickets for the group games at Euro 2004 will not cost less than 50 euros, and will cost more for the opening game and the quarter and semi-finals. Fans will have to find around 250 euros if they want to watch the final. (Diário de Notícias)
Wednesday will mark the beginning of the countdown to Euro 2004, with just 500 days left until the opening game, at the Antas in Oporto. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl will name the 28 training camps to be used during the tournament.
The first pieces of Euro 2004 merchandise are beginning to appear, including stickers with the competition's slogan: LIVE 4 IT!
Socialist MP Fernando Gomes has expressed worries about the fact that the new aiport that will serve Oporto, Aveiro, Braga and Guimarães (five Euro 2004 stadiums in all) will not be ready in time for the tournament since work on it is already 18 months behind schedule. This will mean that the existing Sá Carneiro airport will have to serve. (A Bola On-line)
UEFA's Gerhard Aigner announced in Nyon, Switzerland Monday that the Euro 2004 tournament will have another sponsor, this time the photography giant Canon . Other official sponsors are Carlsberg, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and JVC, while the Portuguese postal service CTT is a national partner.
Boavista have arranged a loan of 15 million euros to finish off the new Bessa stadium. The loan will be repaid over ten years. The total cost of 40 million euros will thus be met by 15 million of Boavista's own capital, ten million from the state and these 15 million privately sourced. The new Bessa will be inaugurated in August to mark the 100th birthday of the club. It is one of the ten stadiums that will be used for Euro 2004.
Home Secretary Nuno Magalhães has told news agency Lusa that security equipment needed for EURO 2004 but not covered by the national budget will be hired. But he was quick to reassure people that this would not mean corners would be cut: "For many years we've had Champions League games in Portugal and high-risk games like FC Porto v Benfica, and people should know that there is not going to be any civil war." Security plans for the tournament are currently being drawn up. Contacts have been established with Spanish counterparts, Spain being the only terrestrial access route into Portugal, and the Portuguese Govenment is considering the suspension of Schengen for the duration of the event. (infordesporto)
CTT, the Portuguese Post Office, became the first Portuguese partner for the EURO 2004 championship. CTT will issue a range of philatelic products, like stamps and postcards, to commemorate the event.
Ernie Walker and the UEFA stadium inspectors compelted their most recent round of visits to the ten stadiums to be used at EURO 2004. Once again, Walker was relatively happy with what he saw: "I'm covered in mud from my feet to my knees, I got rain and fog, but I'm satisfied with what I saw," he said after a day visiting FC Porto's Antas and the stadiums of Braga and Guimarães, all in the north. The next visit will be in February of next year.
Vasco Lynce, head of the domestic organizing body Sociedade Euro-2004, said Wednesday that Benfica cannot receive any of the State subsidies it is due for its new Luz stadium until it submits certificates proving the regualrization of its tax and social security debts.
Only half of the ten stadiums lined up for EURO 2004 have so far received any money from the State: Boavista's Bessa, Sporting's Alvalade XXI, FC Porto's Antas, the Municipal Stadium of Aveiro (Beira-Mar) and the Stadium of the Algarve. The Bessa is by far and away the greatest beneficiary so far, but it is also the stadium nearest completion. It has received a contribution of 5.36 million euros towards the total spent of 31.98 million. The final cost is expected to be 40.69 million. Five other stadiums have not received anything yet, mainly because of bureaucratic obstacles: Benfica's Luz, Braga, Guimarães, Coimbra and Leiria. (A Bola On-line)
Warner Bros. Consumer Products have won from UEFA the licence to be exclusively responsible for the marketing of products related to the EURO 2004 championship. Among other things, the company will be responsible for creating the EURO 2004 mascot.
UEFA explained Wednesday that the theme song to be composed by Phil Collins will be the general theme, valid for all Euros from 2004 on, but that each competition will have its own theme, produced locally.
The british singer/songwriter Phil Collins will compose the theme song for EURO 2004, UEFA announced Wednesday. The decision has been met with discomfort in some quarters in Portugal; the Portuguese were not even consulted in the decision, and the song is not likely to reflect Portuguese culture or tradition. Popular singer Pedro Abrunhosa called the choice "an insult".
The Parliamentary Commission set up to accompany the organisation of the EURO 2004 Championship said Monday that it was worried about FC Porto's new Antas Stadium. Work on the stadium itself is proceeding well, but work on access routes to the stadium is encountering problems: "It would be unbelievable for the stadium to be ready and there to be no way of getting to it," said the head of the Commission, Laurentino Dias, a Socialist Deputy.
Prime Minister Durão Barroso told Parliament (A Assembleia Geral) Tuesday that his Government was committed to seeing through the EURO 2004 Championship, but he said: "If I had been Prime Minister [at the time], there would be no EURO 2004 in Portugal."
Thursday was the day for the UEFA Commission to inspect the stadiums in Leiria and Lisbon (Sporting and Benfica). While Ernie Walker seemed impressed with the progress of the Lisbon stadiums (confirming that Sporting's Alvalade XXI will be important for the tournament), he seemed less pleased with Leiria's, putting a question mark over the possibility of the stadium being finished in time.
Ernie Walker and the Stadium Commission continued their tour of the EURO 2004 stadiums Wednesday. They started in Oporto at Boavista's Bessa and FC Porto's new Antas stadium, moving on to the Estádio de Aveiro where the Commission was pleasantly surprised: "At the beginning I was sceptical, I didn't believe that it was possible, but it's progressing within the foreseen time and budget. we have no doubts that Aveiro will have an important part to play in EURO 2004." In Coimbra, Walker was asked how many games the Municipal Stadium would host. "At least two," he said.
Some of the more striking results of the Euro 2004 qualifiers played Wednesday were:
Luxembourg 0-7 Romania
Germany 2-1 Faroe Isles
Turkey 5-0 Liechtenstein
England 2-2 Macedonia
Wales 2-1 Italy
Ireland 1-2 Switzerland
UEFA's Ernie Walker and his inspection team are back in Portugal to look over the ten stadiums up for the EURO 2004 tournament. Tuesday they visited Braga and Guimarães and said that they were satisfied with progress. Braga's new stadium is running two m onth sbehind the initially designated schedule, but Ernie Walker said that this was not a problem as there was a 'pillow of time' in which to work. The stadium is expected to be ready for Sporting braga to use during the 2003/04 season. The Estádio D. Afonso Henriques of Vitória de Guimarães is expected to be ready in January 2003, and will thus be the first of the stadiums to be up-and-running.
Walker will submit his report on the latest visit to UEFA next week, and it should then be known if any of the stadiums will be left out of the reckoning. It has been suggested that the tournament could go ahead with as few as six stadiums.
Some of the more interesting scores from Saturday in group qualifying games for EURO 2004:
France 5-0 Slovenia
Sweden 1-1 Hungary
Poland 0-1 Latvia
Iceland 0-2 Scotland
Spain 3-0 N. Ireland
Bulgaria 2-0 Croatia
Italy 1-1 Yugoslavia
Slovakia 1-2 England
Work on Benfica's new stadium will recommence Friday. There has been a stoppage of two days while problems of a debt to the constructors were ironed out.
The UEFA Stadiums Commission will be back in Portugal between October 15th and 18th for yet another inspection of the ten grounds to be used at EURO 2004. The tour starts in the North with the Estádio Municipal de Braga and ends in the South with the Estádio do Algarve.
Work on Benfica's new Luz stadium was suspended Tuesday. There were several theories as to why. There have been heavy rains in Portugal over the last two days, which was one of the reasons given by Benfica directors, but there were also rumours that there has been a hitch in the financing plan because of a delay in official documents coming out of Lisbon City Council offices. (A Bola On-line)
The president of the Federação Portuguesa de Futebol, Gilberto Madaíl, said Thursday that the staging of the EURO 2004 tournament is going to cost the country in the region of 5 billion euros. The money will be spent on stadiums, access to the stadiums, transport, hospital facilities and security. He said that one million people are expected, and that in cooperation with Spain, Portugal should be able to control well who comes into the country so as to minimise the risk of hooligan elements disrupting the organisation. (infordesporto)
The expected impact of the EURO 2004 competition on various aspects of Portuguese life will be debated in Parliament on October 7th. The presidents of the FPF and Liga, Gilberto Madaíl and Valentim Loureiro, will talk about the sporting aspects, while in the afternoon, socio-economic considerations will be discussed. (infordesporto )
The Portuguese Stadiums Association (APE) said Thursday that the ten stadiums to be used in the EURO 2004 tournament should be ready by the UEFA deadline of September 2003, and in some cases before. The Association reiterated the importance of having a season's run-up to the competition, in which all aspects of the stadiums' use will be tested, and it revealed that the Sociedade EURO 2004 wants to stage a mini-tournament in the stadiums during the 2003-2004 season. (infordesporto)
The Secretary of State for Public Works, Vieira de Castro, has told the Parliamentary Commission that is accompanying the EURO 2004 project how much it is going to cost to build/ improve access routes to the stadiums to be used in the competition. The State is going to have to fork out 68.3 million euros to create adequate access to nine of the ten stadiums planned for EURO 2004. This value does not include access to Benfica's Luz stadium which may cost as much as 10 million . The values for each stadium are as follows: FC Porto (20 million euros), Sporting (10.9), Coimbra (9.6), Leiria (5.9), Aveiro (5.2), Guimarães (5.2), Faro/Loulé (4.1), Boavista (3.5) and Braga (3.3).
To compensate for the expected increase in air traffic, the Governemnt has said that it may have to re-think the current prohibition of take-offs and landings at the airports of Lisbon and Porto between 24.00 and 06.00.
The Secretary of State for Health, Carlos Martins, told the Commission that no new hospitals are to be built to coincide with the tournament, but that the emergency network will be reinforced, involving increased investment in equipment, facilities, staff and ambulances. (infordesporto)
Reports on the progress of preparations for EURO 2004 will be top of the agenda when the Executive Committee of UEFA meets in Istanbul on September 18th/19th. (A Bola On-line)
FC Porto spokesman Angelino Ferreira said Monday that work on the new Antas Stadium, to be used at EURO 2004, will be completed at the end of September 2003 , a little later than originally planned. Work has been set back due to a disagreement with the City Council about the degree of devlopment around the stadium. (A Bola On-line)
Qualifying games for EURO 2004 got under way on Saturday. Some of the shocks and semi-shocks were the following:
Group 4: Latvia 0-0 Sweden
Group 5: Faroe Islands 2-2 Scotland
Group 8: Belgium 0-2 Bulgaria
Group 9: Finland 0-2 Wales
Group 10: Russia 4-2 Rep. Ireland
All the ten local councils or clubs committed to building or improving stadiums to be used at EURO 2004 have given a firm promise to the Government that their venues will be ready in time for the competition, and within budget. The Government has meanwhile warned once again that it can contribute no more money to the projects, other than that already agreed.
In the match programme of the Sporting v Santa Clara game on September 1st, it was confirmed that Sporting will be able to stay at Alvalade until the end of the season. It was thought that they may have to move out to another stadium for some games owing to work on the new stadium, being built next to the existing one for EURO 2004. Work has begun already, however: all the seats have been removed from half of the West Stand and a section behind the goal of the South Stand, in readiness for demolition work. The new Alvalade XXI can already be seen peeking over the top of the West Stand.
The possibility of the construction workers who are building the stadiums for EURO 2004 going on strike is still in the air. The president of the Northern Construction Workers Union, a branch of ther national union CGTP, Albano Ribeiro, said Thursday that next Tuesday (03/09) there will be a meeting to discuss action to be taken in the light of the difficulties encountered in satisfying the union's demands. (A Bola On-line)
Director of Operations for the final phase of EURO 2004, Michael Kallen, said Wednesday that all the games will be available on terrestrial television, which means that State Channel RTP will have the rights in Portugal. Michael Kallen, Swiss, was presented as the Director of Operations to act as a link between Portugal and UEFA. (A Bola On-line)
The construction unions have once again threatened to stop work on the EURO 2004 stadiums in September if they don't receive an increase in overtime rates and meal subsidies. This would seriously jeopardise the schedule for the construction of the stadiums, already hard pushed. (A Bola On-line)
Responding to an appeal by Liga president Valentim Loureiro for more funds, the Government today declared that they will not give a single extra euro towards the building of the stadiums for EURO 2004. "There will be no additional direct of indirect support, through finanical subsidies or other means, beyond what was signed for by the previous [Socialist] Government ... the difficulties that the country is going through prevent any type of additional support," said Minister for Sport José Luís Arnault. He added that an audit of the EURO 2004 accounts will begin as from September 30th.
The UEFA Stadiums Commission visited the Faro/ Loulé Municipal Stadium on Wednesday and declared themselves satisfied with the progress, compared to the last visit in May. Earlier in the day, the group, headed by Ernie Walker, had seen the work being done on the new Benfica stadium ("It's like watching a baby grow"), and Sporting's ("This will be one of the best stadiums in Europe.")
On Tuesday, the Commission had visited the two stadiums in Oporto, Boavista's and FC Porto's, and União de Leiria's.
The UEFA Stadiums Commission, headed by Ernie Walker, is visiting Portugal to inspect the grounds to be used at EURO 2004. They visited the stadiums in the North of Portugal, specifically Vitória de Guimarães' (modified) and Sporting Braga's (new) Monday and the verdict was one of satisfaction at the progress achieved, despite some geological problems with the one in Braga. Ernie Walker announced that this will be the last inspection trip by the Commission before a report is sent to the Executive Committee in September. A decision will be made at the end of the year on which stadiums, if any, will not the make the cut. ( infordesporto)
A Sociedade EURO 2004, the organising body for the competition, announced Wednesday that tickets for EURO 2004 will be available at the beginning of next year via the Internet and the football associations/federations of each country. Exact procedures for the acquisition of tickets will be announced then. ( A Bola On-line)
The team of inspectors of the EURO 2004 stadiums, led by Ernie Walker, will pay another of their regular visits to Portugal next week. The inspections start on Monday in the North (Braga and Guimarães). On Tuesday they visit Boavista and FC Porto (Oporto) and the municipal stadiums of Aveiro, Coimbra and Leiria in the Centre of the country. The trip ends on Wednesday at Benfica and Sporting (Lisbon) and the intermunicipal stadium of Faro/ Loulé in the Algarve. (A Bola On-line)
A strike by civil construction workers is on the cards if six demands "to dignify their work and the profession" (president of the Northern union Albano Ribeiro) are not met. A September strike, if called, would seriously jeopardise work on the EURO 2004 stadiums. (A Bola On-line)
The Professional Training Centre for the Food Sector has presented FC Porto with a scale model of the Estádio das Antas. It took four pastry chefs 150 hours to make the model, which FC Porto president Pinto da Costa described as "a work of art". The Centre is to make similar models of all the stadiums that will be demolished ahead of EURO 2004. (infordesporto)
Sporting told the Parliamentary Commission set up to control the preparations for EURO 2004 that a quarter of the old Alvalade stadium will have to be demolished between September and October to make way for the new Estádio Alvalade Século XXI . they also revealed that the whole stadium complex will finally cost 137 million euros, and that Sporting will pay back over ten years the bank loans taken out to finance their part of the bill. (A Bola On-line)
Federation president Gilberto Madaíl said Wednesday that the Selecção will be based in Lisbon during EURO 2004. He also announced that the first 450,000 tickets for the competition will go on sale on the Internet in February 2003. (A Bola On-line)
The Commission to inspect the stadiums to be used at EURO 2004 were told Wednesday that construction on Sporting Braga's new stadium is running two weeks late, but it praised the adventurous nature of the project (the ground will have spectators only on the two sides). The cost of the project has more than doubled from the original estimate to 13 million euros. (infordesporto)
Leiria City Council has applied for a bank loan (from the Dexia Public Finance Bank) of 12.5 million Euros, to be re-paid over a number of years. The money will go towards work on the Estádio Magalhães Pessoa, to be used at EURO 2004 and by União de Leiria. Progress on the EURO 2004 project will be under scrutiny by the Executive Committee of UEFA Wednesday and Thursday in Nyon, Switzerland. (A Bola On-line)
The mayor of Aveiro, Alberto Souto de Miranda, said Friday that the government is six months behind on the payment of 7.4 million euros promised for the construction of the Municipal stadium in the town, which will host some of the EURO 2004 games and will later be the home of Beira-Mar. The stadium is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2003. (A Bola On-line)
The Secretary of State for Sport, Hérminio Loureiro, admitted Tuesday that some of the stadiums to be used for EURO 2004 were behind schedule but said that the organisation of the tournament was not at risk. "We have to step up the work," he said. (A Bola On-line)
The president of the National Association of Professional Firefighters said Saturday that just two years away from EURO 2004, to be held in Portugal, none of the stadiums to be used has a definitive safety and evacuation plan. Fernando Curto also said that he was sceptical that the current firefighting force was sufficient to cover the event, and that he was worried about the lack of dialogue between the different entities responsible for security. He was speaking at the General Council of the Association in Lisbon. ( A Bola On-line)
The Portuguese Government have suggested that they may suspend the country's committment to the Schengen agreement (regarding the openness of borders between European Union countries) during EURO 2004 . The news comes after two Members of Parliament belonging to the Left Bloc were prevented from entering Spain earlier in the week. They were on their way to demonstrate at the Seville summit and were stopped by police on the border with Spain. The incident has caused outrage in many circles and was the subject of debate in Parliament, where the Prime Minister Durão Barroso said: "We too have the right to suspend the Schengen agreements, and we will prbably do so in 2004." (A Bola)
President of the Higher Sports Council, and Mayor of Sintra (near Lisbon), Fernando Seará, called Monday for a change to the constitution that would allow the courts special powers to deal with troublemakers at EURO 2004. On Tuesday, the spokesperson for the Order of Lawyers , José Miguel Júdice, said that such moves could be illegal. "The last thing we want is for football to affect citizens' fundamental rights," he said. (infordesporto)
UEFA stadium inspector Ernie Walker is once again in Portugal to check up on progress on the stadiums being built for EURO 2004. The Scotsman has so far seen work on the stadiums of Coimbra, Sporting and Benfica and has declared himself satisfied with progress. ( A Bola On-line)
The new logo for EURO 2004 was unveiled in Lisbon Monday. It consists of a heart encircling a football and features that are allusive to Portugal: the sun, the colours of the flag ... The logo was designed by Wnek Gosper for the company RSCG, based in London. The Portuguese Football Federation, however, were not 100% happy with the design; they had preferred one that was more overtly allusive to Portugal. The Wnek design won because, according to the Executive Director of UEFA, Gerard Aigner "It is more appealing to European audiences". (A Bola)
The draw took place Friday for the qualifying phase of EURO 2004. Santa Maria da Feira was the venue for the draw for the ten groups of five teams each which will battle it out for a place in the finals, to be played in Portugal. (See 25/11 for the qualifying system). The draw is as follows (Portugal qualify automatically as hosts):
Group 1: France, Slovenia, Israel, Cyprus, Malta
Group 2: Romania, Denmark, Norway, Bosnia-Herz., Luxembourg
Group 3 : Czech republic, Holland, Austria, Belarus, Moldova
Group 4 : Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, San Marino
Group 5: Germany, Scotland, Iceland, Lithuania, Faroe Islands
Group 6 : Spain, Ukraine, Greece, N. Ireland, Armenia
Group 7 : Turkey, England, Slovakia, Macedonia, Liechtenstein
Group 8: Belgium, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Andorra
Group 9 : Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Wales, Azerbaijan
Group 10 : Rep. Ireland, Russia, Switzerland, Georgia, Albania
The seeds have been announced for the EURO 2004 qualifying phase, which will begin on 7/8 September 2002 and end on 11/12 October 2003 (Play-off dates are 15/16 November and 18/19 November, 2003). The seeds are: France, Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Rep. Ireland, Romania, Italy, Belgium, Turkey. There will be ten groups, the winners of which will qualify automatically for Portugal 2004. The second-placed teams will have to win a play-off to qualify. The 15 countries thus qualified will join the hosts Portugal in the finals. The draw for the qualifying phase will take place on January 25th. (infordesporto)
Both Benfica and Sporting will receive financial help from Lisbon City Council, in the order of £7.5m, to go towards the building of their new stadiums, to be used in EURO 2004. (A Bola)
The draw for the qualifying stage of EURO 2004 will take place in the Europarque complex in Santa Maria da Feira, in the North of Portugal, on January 25th, 2002 at 11.00 local time. The 50 countries involved will be drawn into ten groups of five and will play out the qualifying group games between September 7th 2002 and September 12th 2003. The play-offs will be in November, 2003. there will be five seeds, based on performance at EURO 2004 and the qualifying stage of the 2002 World Cup. France is already a seed. Portugal will qualify for the competition as hosts and they will be joined by 15 other teams: the winners of each of the ten groups plus the five winners of the play-offs between the second-placed team in each group.
The dates of the qualifying games are the following:
07 and 08 September
12 and 13 October
15 and 16 October
29 and 30 March
01 and 02 April
07 and 08 June
10 and 11 June
06 and 07 September
09 and 10 September
11 and 12 September
The play-offs will be on November 15 and 16, 2003 (first leg) and November 19 and 20 (second leg)
EURO 2004 will take place between June 12th and July 4th, 2004.
A meeting of Benfica directors to discuss the increasingly urgent question of the new Estádio da Luz was postponed Tuesday for lack of a quorum. Mário Dias, vice-president for Benfica's patrimony, was quoted in A Bola as saying that the the date for the EGM, in which Benfica supporters will vote for or against the new stadium, must be set this week or time will run out for the stadium to be included in the group of stadiums to be used at EURO 2004. "If we don't say, publicly and urgently, that we will be in the EURO and that we can satisfy all the conditions to go ahead with the construction of the new stadium, then it will be UEFA itself that removes Benfica, irreversibly," he said. Meanwhile, president of the Financial Department at the club, João Carvalho, said Tuesday that his department had not yet received any documentation about the new stadium from the board of directors, a worrying situation given the urgency of the case. (A Bola/ maisfutebol ) (video - infordesporto)
The UEFA Stadium Commission visited Leiria's municipal stadium Wednesday and Ernie Walker declared "This is one of the nicest projects of the ten Portuguese stadiums for EURO 2004. The renovated stadium is expected to be ready in July 2003 and the estimated cost is £21m. (A Bola On-line)
Ernie Walker and the UEFA Stadium Commission are in Portugal again to check up on the progress being made with the stadiums designated for use at EURO 2004. They visited the Municipal Stadium of Faro/ Loulé in the Algarve Tuesday. Walker said: "Portugal has already proved, with the World Exposition of 1998 that it organised, that it is capable of great undertakings." The Commission visits Lisbon (Benfica, Sporting), Leiria, Aveiro (Beira-Mar) and Oporto (FC Porto, Boavista) Wednesday. (A Bola On-line)
President of the Portuguese Football Federation Gilberto Madaíl reacted angrily Tuesday to comments made Monday by the Governor of the Bank of Portugal, who suggested that hard-up Portugal would have to think again about several major national projects, among them the staging of the EURO 2004 Championship. The FPF President said: "This is an investment - it's not expenditure." (infordesporto)
Benfica presented Monday a project for a hypothetical new Luz stadium to the UEFA authorities in Nyon, Switzerland. The move seems to negate the possibility of a municipal stadium, to be shared with Sporting, which has been doing the rounds of the press in recent weeks and is still being advocated by the Lisbon City Council. Before the old Luz is brought down and a new one built, the sócios of Benfica would need to be consulted in a General Meeting, according to a promise made by president Manuel Vilarinho.
Benfica have decided that the best course of action in terms of the Luz Stadium would be to tear it down and build a new one nearby. The old Luz costs over £1m a year to maintain and would not be accepted as a venue for Euro 2004 as it is. The other option, of renovating it, has also been rejected as inviable because of the maintenance costs, which will be similar to now, and the fact that the stadium could still not be used for anything other than football. It would also cost over £30m, whereas a new stadium will cost double that, with the government footing a quarter of the bill. There have also been reports that Lisbon City Council may get involved in the project, making the new stadium semi-municipal. The new stadium (pic), to keep the name of the Luz, will seat 75,000 and will take 2 years to build. No final decision will be made, however, unitl the sócios (club members) have been consulted in an EGM. A survey on website infordesporto had 66% of visitors in favour of a new stadium. (maisfutebol)
Tuesday also saw work begin on FC Porto 's new 50,000 stadium (pic), to coincide with a visit from Ernie Walker and the UEFA people for their latest inspection of the EURO 2004 venues. While they were in the north, the inspectors also visited Boavista's Bessa stadium, which has one-and-a-half stands already built. "This project is the only one that you can look at and believe in," said Ernie Walker. (maisfutebol)
Sports Minister José Lello has extended the deadline for Benfica to submit the project for a new or modified Luz stadium with a view to it being included in the group of stadiums to be used for EURO 2004. The original deadline was March 31st, now extended to April 23rd. "What is important above all is that Benfica resolve this question in peace ... because it's important that the Luz is part of the event," said the minister. (infordesporto)
The project for FC Porto 's new stadium (picture) was presented to the public Friday. It is to be built a stone's throw away from the existing Estádio das Antas on land which at present has the club's training grounds. A feature of the multifunctional stadium is that it will be possible to fill its 50,214 places in 20 minutes and to clear them in six. It will cost in the region of £75m, a quarter of which will be paid by the state. ( A Bola/ O Jogo)
The UEFA Stadium Commission , headed by Ernie Walker, is in Portugal to check up on progess being made on the construction of stdiums for 2004. The president of the Municipal Council of the town of Aveiro in the north (home of Primeira club Beira-Mar) met with the Commission and afterwards told the press that the local stadium, which was originally budgeted at about £18m will now cost up to £27m. Excavations on the site of the stadium are to begin in May, construction in August. Completion is scheduled for August 2003. Meanwhile, work on the Estádio Inter-Municipal of Faro/Loulé (which will be the home of Farense and Louletano after the competition) will begin three months ahead of schedule, in June. (maisfutebol)
The first stone was laid today for Sporting 's new Alvalade stadium. It will hold over 50,000 spectators and will cost between £50m and £60m, a quarter of which will be paid by the state. Sporting's president, Dias da Cunha, called it "a pioneering project." It was blessed by a catholic priest.
President of the Portuguese Football Federation, Gilberto Madaíl, has once again reassured the Portuguese public that work on the stadiums to be used for EURO 2004 is in hand. At the Symposium organized by A Bola, he said that work on all the ten stadiums involved will be under way by the summer. (See Quotes) (A Bola)
Sports Minister José Lello has visited the site of Sporting's new Alvalade Stadium, work on which has just begun: "It was important that I came here so that everyone could see that work on EURO 2004 was under way ... It will be a magnificent and emblematic stadium and a way for us to demonstrate the rigour with which EURO 2004 will be run." To the suggestion that the Estádio da Luz wll not be used for the event, the Minister responded: "Deadlines are being respected - the plan for the Luz has until March 31st to be presented ... The final will definitely be in Lisbon, and nothing stops me from thinking that the Luz will be a venue at EURO 2004."
Work on Sporting's new stadium will now begin on Monday January 15th after Lisbon City Council gave the official go-ahead. The first jobs will be to fence off the area, next to the existing Alvalade Stadium, and begin excavations. ( Maisfutebol)
Sports Minister José Lello met for the first time with the organizing body of EURO 2004: "EURO 2004 will serve to present 'Portugal' as a brand, a country that does things well and with rigour ... I'm very optimistic about the future ... We need to be less obsessed about the construction of the stadiums and concentrate more on a plan of action in strictly organizational and legislative areas, safety, staffing, tickets and other areas equally vital to the success of the event," he said. FPF president, Gilberto Madaíl, added that "this year is going to be decisive in terms of the solidarity between the organizing body and the Government." He also outlined some of the strategies planned for publicizing the event, explaining that as from 2002, Portuguese airports will have information desks and that Europe, especially Spain, and later Latin America and the West Coast of the USA will be targeted. (Jornal de Notícias)
Work on Sporting's new stadium will not now begin tomorrow as previously planned. The contractors are waiting for a municipal license from the Lisbon City Council. (A Bola)
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl met today with Benfica president Manuel Vilarinho to discuss progress on preparations for EURO 2004. After the meeting, he said that the Luz stadium will probably be the venue for the final of the competition, but did not say categorically that it will: "This is a dynamic and not a static process," he said. (Infordesporto)
The city of Coimbra has been given the green light by the government to go ahead with improvements to its Estádio Municipal, to be used at Euro 2004. The work will go out for tender some time during the first quarter of 2001 and is due to be completed in June 2003. The stadium will be the only one at the championship which is not fully covered. Sports Minister José Lello took advantage of the presentation of the project to reassure doubters about the smooth running of preparations: "Euro 2004 will be marked by rigour, transparency, efficiency, exigency and excellence." (Jornal de Notícias)
The Secretary General of the Belgian Football Federation, Alain Courtois, had been in Lisbon attending in a consultative capacity meetings directed towards discussion of the organization of EURO 2004. Asked if he thought the fact that Portugal has had four Sports Ministers in the last year would prejudice preparations for the the tournament, he said: "We had six different Ministers of the Interior, responsible for security ... you have to understand that it's not men that make or break thes projects, it's the institutions involved."
Portugal has a new Sports Minister as from today. The previous one, Armando Vara, was forced to resign after he was implicated in a public funds scandal. The new minister is José Lello, the fourth in little over a year. He was quick to praise the efforts of his predecessor and to dispell fears over the future of Portugal's hosting of the EURO 2004 competition: "The deadlines are all within what was predicted and the EURO will be organized in an exemplary fashion," he said.
Minister of Sport, Armando Vara, met today with various figures involved in the organization of Euro 2004, including the presidents of FC Porto, Boavista and Sporting Braga, all clubs which are building new stadiums to be used during the championship. After the meeting, the Minister declared that he was "confident" that all the stadiums and respective infrastructures are on course and will be ready on time.