Portugal To Close Schools For 15 Days Over COVID-19

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa gives a press conference at Sao Bento Palace in Lisbon on January 21, 2021.Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

 

Portugal said Thursday it will close schools for two weeks in a bid to contain a surge in coronavirus cases with concerns over the spread of a more contagious UK strain.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the closures will begin Friday, speaking after a cabinet meeting just a week after the government imposed a second lockdown that did not require shutting schools or universities.

“Precaution requires us to interrupt all teaching activities for the next 15 days,” Costa said, adding that the decision had become necessary because of “this new strain and the speed of its transmission.”

READ ALSO: US Resumes WHO Support, Launches $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Plan

Portugal has this week been breaking daily records in virus death tolls, with an extra 221 fatalities in 24 hours announced Thursday by the national health authorities.

After having hit Wednesday a record 14,647 new infections in one day, the country of around 10 million people registered 13,544 cases on Thursday.

The explosion in new infections is mainly the result of the spread of the British strain, which is much more contagious than original novel coronavirus.

“There is a sharp increase with this variant,” the prime minister said, adding it now accounted for 20 percent of infections and could make up 60 percent of them as soon as next week.

Spain, Portugal Play Out Goalless Draw

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) vies with Spain’s defender Diego Llorente during the friendly football match between Portugal and Spain at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on October 7, 2020. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)

 

Cristiano Ronaldo hit the crossbar as Portugal and Spain played out a goalless draw in a compelling friendly in Lisbon on Wednesday.

Ronaldo and Renato Sanchez both struck the woodwork for Portugal, who then should have won it in injury-time only for Joao Felix to miskick at the back post.

Spain were the better team early on at the Jose Alvalade stadium and also went close through Dani Olmo but neither side was able to claim victory ahead of upcoming games in the Nations League.

“I think we were better than Portugal,” said Spain coach Luis Enrique. “We dominated the game. For sure they had two shots on the break that hit the bar and one that Kepa saved but we had chances as well.”

Both sit top of their Nations League groups, Portugal with maximum points after beating Croatia and Sweden while Spain have four after thrashing Ukraine and drawing with Germany.

Spain go up against Switzerland on Saturday before playing against Ukraine three days later. Portugal face world champions France on Sunday and then play at home to Sweden.

During the first half, it was also announced by the football federations of the two countries they will stage a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

They will be competing against Morocco, as well as another joint bid from Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile.

The last time Spain and Portugal met was for the thrilling 3-3 draw at the 2018 World Cup, when Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including a stunning late equaliser from a free-kick.

This was a far less dramatic contest, with both teams still rebuilding ahead of next year’s postponed European Championships.

It was the first time Spain had failed to score since losing to Italy at the 2016 European Championships in France.

Luis Enrique fielded an experimental eleven, which included Chelsea’s struggling goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Manchester City’s 19-year-old central defender Eric Garcia and the newly called-up Sergio Canales in midfield.

For Portugal, the 20-year-old Francisco Trincao, who has just joined Barcelona, started in a front three with Ronaldo and Andre Silva.

Spain enjoyed a superb opening quarter of an hour but had nothing to show for it, as Gerard Moreno missed from close range and Olmo volleyed wide.

Portugal went closest in the second half. Ronaldo shifted onto his left foot and thundered a shot against the crossbar. He then turned provider, curving a pass right to Renato, whose effort also crashed against the frame and bounced out.

The best chance though fell to Felix in injury-time, the ball finding him free at the back post, only for the youngster to slide and somehow fail to connect.

-AFP

 

 

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo hit the crossbar as Portugal and Spain played out a goalless draw in a compelling friendly in Lisbon on Wednesday. 

Ronaldo and Renato Sanchez both struck the woodwork for Portugal, who then should have won it in injury-time only for Joao Felix to miskick at the back post.

Spain were the better team early on at the Jose Alvalade stadium and also went close through Dani Olmo but neither side was able to claim victory ahead of upcoming games in the Nations League.

“I think we were better than Portugal,” said Spain coach Luis Enrique. “We dominated the game. For sure they had two shots on the break that hit the bar and one that Kepa saved but we had chances as well.”

Both sit top of their Nations League groups, Portugal with maximum points after beating Croatia and Sweden while Spain have four after thrashing Ukraine and drawing with Germany.

Spain go up against Switzerland on Saturday before playing against Ukraine three days later. Portugal face world champions France on Sunday and then play at home to Sweden.

During the first half, it was also announced by the football federations of the two countries they will stage a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

They will be competing against Morocco, as well as another joint bid from Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile.

The last time Spain and Portugal met was for the thrilling 3-3 draw at the 2018 World Cup, when Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including a stunning late equaliser from a free-kick.

This was a far less dramatic contest, with both teams still rebuilding ahead of next year’s postponed European Championships.

It was the first time Spain had failed to score since losing to Italy at the 2016 European Championships in France.

Luis Enrique fielded an experimental eleven, which included Chelsea’s struggling goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Manchester City’s 19-year-old central defender Eric Garcia and the newly called-up Sergio Canales in midfield.

For Portugal, the 20-year-old Francisco Trincao, who has just joined Barcelona, started in a front three with Ronaldo and Andre Silva.

Spain enjoyed a superb opening quarter of an hour but had nothing to show for it, as Gerard Moreno missed from close range and Olmo volleyed wide.

Portugal went closest in the second half. Ronaldo shifted onto his left foot and thundered a shot against the crossbar. He then turned provider, curving a pass right to Renato, whose effort also crashed against the frame and bounced out.

The best chance though fell to Felix in injury-time, the ball finding him free at the back post, only for the youngster to slide and somehow fail to connect.

-AFP

Ronaldo Scores Brace Against Sweden To Cross 100-Goal Mark

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden's defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden's defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden’s defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden’s defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020, in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against 10-man Sweden on Tuesday to take him to 101 international goals for Portugal on Tuesday.

The mythical 100-mark was broken on the stroke of half-time of a UEFA Nations League match against Sweden.

The 35-year-old Juventus attacker curled in a free-kick from 25 yards over the wall and into the far left corner beyond Sweden’s stranded goalkeeper Robin Olsen for a memorable milestone in his trophy-laden career.

The bonus second goal, and his 101st, came in the 72nd minute, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player cutting back inside the Swedish defence and producing a deft finish into the far corner from 20 yards.

After making his first senior international appearance as an 18-year-old in 2003, Ronaldo notched up his first goal for Portugal in a 2-1 defeat by eventual winners Greece at Euro 2004.

Ronaldo, capped 165 times by Portugal, is second only to Iran’s Ali Daei, on 109, in the list of top men’s international goal scorers.

Incredibly for Ronaldo, just 17 of his 100 goals have come in friendly matches, and his nine hat-tricks all came in FIFA or UEFA tournaments or qualifying games.

His 100th goal came at a stadium in Sweden which was the scene of a memorable Ronaldo display in the second leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2013.

Ronaldo had scored the only goal in the first leg, and then exchanged goals with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second.

Ronaldo hit a hat-trick between the 50th and 79th minute while the Swedish star hit two in four minutes in the middle of the outburst. Portugal won the match and the playoff.

 

 

AFP

Spain To Reopen Borders With France, Portugal On June 22

A passenger wearing a face mask and gloves as a preventive measure pushes a trolley at the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport in Barajas on March 20, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.

 

Spain will reopen its land borders with France and Portugal on June 22, three months after they were closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, its tourism minister said Thursday.

“In the case of France and Portugal, I want to confirm that from June 22, the restrictions on mobility will be lifted,” Reyes Maroto said a foreign press briefing.

She added that “in principle”, the compulsory 14-day quarantine requirement “will also be dropped” for cross-border arrivals.

“This is very important because it will allow us to welcome back both French and Portuguese tourists,” the minister noted.

Spain closed its borders with France and Portugal on March 17, three days after imposing a nationwide lockdown to battle the virus which has infected more than 240,000 people and killed over 27,000.

Since May 15, almost all international arrivals have had to self-isolate for two weeks to prevent a resurgence of the epidemic.

That measure is to remain in place until July 1 for people flying in or arriving by boat.

“Right now, given the improvement in the epidemic in Spain, there is a debate underway about whether we could bring forward the date for lifting this quarantine requirement,” she said.

READ ALSO: Armenia Hospitals Overwhelmed As COVID-19 Cases Surge

“If the conditions are right to lift the requirement before July 1, we will.”

The announcement came a day after Spanish lawmakers voted to extend the state of emergency a final time to June 21.

It was the sixth time the measure has been renewed, although with the epidemic well in hand, associated restrictions have been significantly eased over time.

Maroto said 6,000 German tourists would be able to travel to Spain’s Balearic Islands “in the second half of June” within the context of a pilot project between the archipelago’s regional government and the German tour operator TUI.

AFP

Portugal Confirms First Coronavirus Case

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.  AFP

 

Portugal on Monday confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, a 60-year-old man who had travelled back from northern Italy, which is the European hotspot for the virus.

A second person hospitalised in Portugal with coronavirus symptoms, a 33-year-old man, was awaiting final test results after initial exams suggested he might be ill with the virus as well.

The second suspected case was a person who had returned from eastern Spain, where several COVID-19 cases have been confirmed.

Portugal’s government said it would extend screening measures to people arriving from Italy, in line with similar precautions already imposed on travellers from China.

Deaths from the coronavirus surpassed a grim milestone Monday, with more than 3,000 people killed globally.

Over 89,000 people have been infected across 68 countries and territories, the lion’s share in China where the virus emerged in late December.

AFP

Euro 2020: Portugal Drawn With France, Germany

A board displays the groups and Spanish football player Iker Casillas (R) during the UEFA Euro 2020 football competition final draw in Bucharest on November 30, 2019. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

 

Reigning European champions Portugal will come up against World Cup winners France and Germany in the standout group at Euro 2020 following Saturday’s draw for the tournament in Bucharest.

Neither France nor Portugal were in Pot One for the 24-team competition being held in 12 cities across Europe, making them the teams to avoid for the top seeds.

The section, Group F, will be completed by one of the winners of the play-offs to be played next March.

See the draw for the group stage of the Euro 2020 finals, to be played from June 12-July 12, made in Bucharest on Saturday:

Group A

Turkey

Italy

Wales

Switzerland

Group B

Denmark

Finland

Belgium

Russia

Group C

Netherlands

Ukraine

Austria

Winner of play-off Path D or Romania should they qualify (home games in Bucharest)

Group D

England

Croatia

Winner of play-off Path C

Czech Republic

Group E

Spain

Sweden

Poland

Winner of play-off Path B

Group F

Winner of play-off Path A or Path D (if Romania win Path A)

Portugal

France

Germany

Note: Remaining four teams to qualify through UEFA Nations League play-offs in March

Defending Champions Portugal Qualify For Euro 2020

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates with team members after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group B qualification football match between Luxembourg and Portugal at the Josy Barthel Stadium in Luxembourg on November 17, 2019.
JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 99th international goal as reigning champions Portugal secured their place at the Euro 2020 finals on Sunday with a 2-0 victory away to Luxembourg.

Bruno Fernandes struck the opening goal on 39 minutes before Ronaldo tapped in a scrappy second late on to clinch second place in Group B behind winners Ukraine, who drew 2-2 in Serbia.

Portugal became the 17th nation to qualify for next year’s multi-host tournament, which kicks off in Rome on June 12, joining the likes of world champions France, Spain, Italy, and England.

“We can’t give the match-high marks for style,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who admitted the heavy pitch made life challenging for his team.

READ ALSO: AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Nigeria Fight Back To Beat Lesotho

“I’m very happy for my players because the qualifying campaign has been more difficult than we expected.

“We’re through to the finals of a major tournament for an 11th straight time. You’ve got to believe in these players.”

Portugal knew they would book their place at Euro 2020 with a win or by matching Serbia’s result from their game in Belgrade.

But they were made to work hard by a Luxembourg team ranked 96th in the world that notably held France to a 0-0 draw in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Sporting Lisbon midfielder Fernandes broke the deadlock before half-time, controlling Bernardo Silva’s pinpoint pass expertly before lashing in from 20 yards.

Ronaldo, who smacked in a hat-trick in Thursday’s 6-0 thrashing of Lithuania, moved to the brink of his international century four minutes from time.

Silva’s far-post cross was forced towards goal by Diogo Jota, with Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris getting a hand to the ball before Ronaldo turned in from the goalline.

Iranian striker Ali Daei holds the world record with 109 international goals scored between 1993 and 2006.

AFP

Euro 2020: Ukraine Qualify Despite Ronaldo’s 700th Goal

Ukraine’s players celebrate after the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Ukraine and Portugal at the NSK Olimpiyskyi stadium in Kiev on October 14, 2019. Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

Ukraine beat Portugal 2-1 on Monday to clinch a place in the Euro 2020 finals despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s 700th career goal.

Roman Yaremchuk gave the hosts a sixth minute lead. Andriy Yarmolenko added a second after 23 minutes.

Although Ronaldo scored his landmark goal from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute and Taras Stepanenko was sent off, Ukraine held on to secure first place in Group B.

Ukraine join already qualified Poland, Russia, Italy and Belgium.

Cristiano Ronaldo Scores 700th Career Goal

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Ukraine and Portugal at the NSK Olimpiyskyi stadium in Kiev on October 14, 2019. AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 700th career goal for club or country when he converted a 72nd minute penalty for Portugal in their Euro 2020 qualifier at Ukraine on Monday.

Ukraine were leading the Group B match 2-0 when Taras Stepanenko blocked a shot with his hand,  collecting a second yellow card and being sent off before Ronaldo converted from the spot to pull a goal back.

Either team could ensure a place in next summer’s finals with a win.

Ukraine join already qualified Poland, Russia, Italy and Belgium at next summer’s finals, while second-placed Portugal, who are eight points behind Ukraine, have Serbia just a point behind them with two matches remaning after they beat Lithuania 2-1.

“There are days like these, when the ball just doesn’t want to go in,” said Portuguese midfielder Danilo. “No need to do the maths now: we just need to win the next two games to reach Euro 2020.”

Yaremchuk pounced from close range in the sixth minute. The centre forward reacted fastest after Rui Patricio dived to parry Serhiy Kryvtsov’s header from a corner, and poke the ball across the line.

Yarmolenko added the second when outpaced the Portuguese defence to finish a swift counter attack with a low, crisp first-time shot.

Portugal dominated the second half and finally achieved a breakthrough when Stepanenko blocked a shot with his arm, receiving his marching orders

The goal was his 95th for Portugal. The 34-year-old is now just 14 goals behind the all-time international record of 109 held by former Iran striker Ali Daei.

While the exact number of goals scored by some of the game’s legends is the subject of debate, Ronaldo is agreed to be the sixth player to reach 700 after Austrian Josef Bican, Brazilians Romario and Pele, Hungarian Ferenc Puskas and German Gerd Muller.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo Will Not Face Rape Charges In Nevada

Ronaldo, Zapata Lock Horns As Juventus Tackle Atalanta In Coppa Italia

 

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo will not face any charges over an alleged rape in the US state of Nevada a decade ago, prosecutors said on Monday.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office said it had declined to prosecute the Portuguese star because it “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” that a sexual assault occurred.

Kathryn Mayorga, a former model, has claimed that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star reached a financial settlement with her following the incident but has denied allegations of sexual assault.

The district attorney’s office said it had received a report from Mayorga — who it identified only as “V” — on June 13, 2009, reporting that she had been the victim of a sexual assault.

Police were unable to conduct an investigation at the time because she declined to say who assaulted her or where it occurred, the office said in a statement, but Mayorga contacted police in August of last year to ask that the case be reopened, at which point she named Ronaldo as the alleged assailant.

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” prosecutors said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Ronaldo is widely considered one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game, having won the Champions League title five times — once with Manchester United and four times with Real Madrid.

He also led Portugal to the Euro 2016 title in France.

AFP

Portugal Edge Out The Netherlands To Win First Nations League

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his team’s victory at the end of the UEFA Nations League final football match between Portugal and The Netherlands at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on June 9, 2019. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

 

Portugal added the inaugural Nations League title to their Euro 2016 triumph as Goncalo Guedes’s strike on the hour won an underwhelming final 1-0 against the Netherlands in Porto on Sunday.

The Dutch defensive pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt largely kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet, but Valencia winger Guedes proved the match winner as his shot had too much power for Jasper Cillessen in the Netherlands goal.

Portugal Rely On Ronaldo To Get Better Of Van Dijk

Ronaldo, Zapata Lock Horns As Juventus Tackle Atalanta In Coppa Italia
Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Portugal’s meeting with the Netherlands to decide the first ever winners of the Nations League on Sunday sees the unstoppable force of Cristiano Ronaldo face the immovable object in Virgil van Dijk.

Ronaldo sat out the early stages of UEFA’s new competition to save his 34-year-old legs for his first season at Juventus but returned in time to ride to the host nation’s rescue once more in Wednesday’s semi-final against Switzerland.

The Swiss enjoyed the better of the game in Porto, but the five-time world player of the year was lethal in scoring his 53rd career hat-trick with three exquisite finishes.

“It’s the preparation of my work ethic. I still feel good despite being 34 years of age,” Ronaldo told UEFA.com.

“The most important thing is your head, to feel motivated and happy, and to follow my path as a player because I think I still have a lot to give.”

Portugal’s run to the last four without their all-time record top goalscorer showed why hopes are high the European champions will remain a force even when Ronaldo does eventually depart the international scene.

READ ALSO: Mesut Ozil Gets Married With Turkish President As Best Man

The talent of Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Ruben Neven and Bruno Fernandes among others promises much, but Ronaldo remains Portugal’s X-factor.

“We know sometimes it is impossible to have good defending against Cristiano Ronaldo,” said the Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman.

“I think the best that we can do is keeping the ball, to have good ball possession because when we have the ball he can do nothing in attack.”

– Van Dijk transformative –
However, Koeman is blessed with the man most capable of keeping Ronaldo quiet in world football at the moment in Van Dijk.

The world’s most expensive defender has more than justified his 75 million ($95 million) price tag since swapping Southampton for Liverpool 18 months ago.

His transformative effect has brought back the glory days at Anfield, capped by winning the Champions League last weekend.

And now Van Dijk is also leading his country back to where they belong as a European powerhouse after failing to even qualify for the last two major tournaments.

Koeman boasted about having the best central defensive partnership in Europe even before the tournament with Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt lining up alongside Van Dijk.

Yet, while the 19-year-old may well succeed his skipper as the world’s most expensive defender in the coming weeks, Holland’s 3-1 semi-final victory over England showed why he is not yet the finished article.

De Ligt’s error in conceding a first half penalty could have cost his side a place in the final.

Van Dijk was first to console his young teammate and that assurance helped De Ligt to atone in perfect fashion as he scored the Dutch’s equaliser before easing past an error-strewn England in extra-time.

Ronaldo may be keen for revenge against De Ligt as he also scored the winner when Ajax shocked Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals this season.

Despite the Italian champions’ elimination, Ronaldo scored his side’s two goals in that tie.

But he is yet to net when faced with the more imposing and composed figure of Van Dijk.

In their only two previous meetings, Real Madrid beat Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final thanks to two calamitous goalkeeping errors from Loris Karius and a wonder goal from Gareth Bale in what proved to be Ronaldo’s last ever game for the Spanish giants.

The last time the two nations met, it was Van Dijk who was on target in a 3-0 friendly win for the Netherlands last March.

A five-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner, who has also won league titles in England, Spain and Italy, there is little left for Ronaldo to prove.

Yet, the chance to win an international tournament on home soil and avenge the pain of defeat in the Euro 2004 final as hosts will not come round again.

Fifteen years on, Portugal’s hopes still rely Ronaldo rising to the challenge of overcoming the world’s best defender.