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Portuguese Liga: 2007-’08 Zoom Map. « billsportsmaps.com

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April 13, 2008

Portuguese Liga: 2007-’08 Zoom Map.

Filed under: Portugal,Zoom Maps — admin @ 10:41 am

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In Portugal, Porto has already clinched the Title.  It is Porto’s third straight championship, and fifth in the last six seasons {click here for Wikipedia’s entry on FC Porto}.

This weekend is the 26th of 30, in the Portuguese football season.  One interesting development this is that newly promoted Vitoria Guimaraes, the club with the country’s fourth largest fan base (but absolutely zero major titles), has a real chance of making it to the Champions League Qualifiers.  It could be at the expense of Sporting [Lisbon], who were just eliminated in the UEFA Cup Semi-Finals, by [the Glasgow] Rangers.  One has to think Sporting’s European run has eroded their domestic form, as the club has lost 3 of their last 8 league games.  Vitoria Guimaraes’ famously rabid fans will be screaming themselves hoarse, urging on their team to maintain their slim 2 point lead over Sporting.  **{Click here, for a video compilation of Vitoria Guimaraes’ fans in action  (@youtube).}.     {Click here, for Wikipedia’s entry on Vitoria Guimaraes.}

Update: Benfica was embarrassed by relegation-threatened Acedemica Coimbra 0-3, on Friday.  And on Saturday, Vitoria Guimaraes beat Boavista 1-0.  That means V. Guimaraes is now in 2nd place.   It looks like there’s going to be some new blood in the CL next fall.   Especially with Benfica imploding  {see this recent article, from the Pitch Invasion site}.

Ever since organized professional football has been played in Portugal, “os Tres Grandes,” or the Big 3,  (Benfica, Porto, and Sporting) have had a near-absolute dominance over the rest of the nation’s clubs.  It is more of a domination than even the Old Firm’s grip on the Scottish game.    In fact, Boavista’s fluke 2001 National Title, and the Title won by Belenenses in 1946, are the only two championships won outside of the Big 3.

And as far as gate figures go, there is a similar haves-and have-nots aspect.  The Big 3 are all able to pack them in: Benfica is drawing around 40,000 these days, Porto is at 37,000 or so, and Sporting pulls in 29,000 per game.  After that, there are just two clubs with medium-sized fan bases:  Vitoria Guimaraes, averaging around 17,000;  and Sporting Braga, averaging around 13,000.    After these five clubs, no other club in Portugal’s Liga is averaging more than 8,000 per game.  The only other clubs with halfway decent fan support are Acedemica Coimbra, at about 7,200, and Maritimo, at about 5,600.  

CS Maritimo, along with CD Nacional, are from the Atlantic Ocean island of Madeira {see this map}.  The island is part of an archipelago, also called Madeira, and is one of the 7 Regions of Portugal {see this}.  It is one of two Autonomous Regions in Portugal (the other is the Azores Islands, which is further west in the Atlantic: it’s biggest club is Santa Clara, which has spent 3 seasons in the top flight, the last in 2003.)  Madeira is where football superstar Christiano Ronaldo, of Manchester United, came from,  getting his start with Nacional.

Portugal’s domestic league is currently ranked #6 by UEFA, for European competitions.  3 clubs are awarded Champions League spots (1st and 2nd place finishers go directly to the coveted Group Stage, and 3rd place goes to the 3rd Round Qualifiers); 3 clubs are awarded UEFA Cup spots.    {Click here, for the Rankings for 2008-2009 UEFA Competitions.}   In 2006, The Poruguese Liga reduced it’s membership from 18 to 16 clubs.

{Click here, for the Portuguese Liga table (SocceerStats[dot]com).}

Here are 3 Google Earth shots of Premeira Liga Stadiums in Lisbon (click on each sentance below).

**Benfica’s “Stadium of Light.” [Note: the name refers to the neighborhood it is in: Luz, which translates as "light."]- Click here.

**Sporting’s Estadio Jose Alvalade-21st Century.-Click here.

**Belenenses’ Estadio do Restelo-Click here.

Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com. for the kits.  Thanks to (golftoday[dot]co[dot]uk) for the map.  Thanks to Jeremy, of the Albion Road site (http://www.albionroad.com),  for sending me the 3 Google Earth shots, and for information on the Portuguse Liga from his comprehensive website. 

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