Portugal lifted by local support at training

MAGALIESBURG - Portugal's first World Cup training session in South Africa was watched by around 2,000 fans on Sunday, an indication of the team's popularity among the local immigrant community.

The Portuguese squad landed in the morning and was met by thousands of supporters lining the streets of Magaliesburg, a small town some 70 kilometres from Johannesburg near which the team will stay and train.

Around 1,600 tickets were distributed for the hour-long training session at Bekker High School with at least another 400 people trying to watch from the areas behind the ground fencing.

"Ro-nal-do," was the loudest chant heard between the sounds of the vuvuzela horns as the players approached the school's single stand.

"Everybody knows about the enormous Portuguese community in South Africa, and we expected this kind of thing. It's just fantastic for us," defender Paulo Ferreira told reporters.

There are an estimated 500,000 descendants of Portuguese immigrants in South Africa. Portugal's final warmup friendly against Mozambique on Tuesday is sold out with organisers saying all 28,000 tickets were bought within 12 hours.

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