Portugal are the winners of Euro 2016 and they are jubilant. (Image Credit : www.theguardian.com)
Portugal caused one of the biggest upsets in European Championship soccer history, beating France 1-0 in the UEFA Euro 2016 final held at Stade de France in Paris. Éder was the star of the match, helping his country nail their first major trophy and Euro victory.
France, deemed as favourites, failed to live up to expectations despite their star forward Antoine Griezmann emerging as tournament top scorer with six goals, ahead of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s three goals enroute to the finals of the championship.
France have won in three of four finals over 32 years, namely at Euro 1984 and 2000, and at the 1998 World Cup on home turf. However, Portugal have yet to win the European Championship in the nation’s entire football history, on top of a track record losing ten consecutive times to France since 1975, making their unexpected Euro 2016 victory even more triumphant.
An undermanned Portuguese side (bereft of their talismanic superstar Cristiano Ronaldo 25 minutes after the opening due to a knee injury) shocked a subsequently bewildered French national team in the second half of added extra time of the 2016 European Championship final.
Ronaldo Cristiano injures his knee after clashing with Payet. (Image Credit : www.theguardian.com)
Substitute Éder (who plies his trade in France for Lille OSC) fired a clinical finish that bested the helpless French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and eventually availed Portugal of its first ever major tournament title at the senior level.
Éder scores the winning goal for Portugal and Lloris is unable to fend off the powerful low shot. (Image Credit : www.theguardian.com)
Instead of producing morose resignation, Ronaldo’s injury appeared to galvanise Portugal - resulting in a stout, resolute defensive performance led by Pepe that stymied, stifled, and frustrated France’s offensive forays save for the infrequent moment of danger.
Although Portugal’s defensive resilience ensured a mundane affair for the bulk of the duration of the match, it also enabled the feisty underdog to mitigate against any of France’s heralded talents the likes of Griezmann and Pogba from dominating the game.
Portugal’s victory echoed that of the unit that had vanquished the Iberian country in the 2004 final, Greece. Unable to rely on the sublime skills of Ronaldo, Portugal quickly adopted a team-first approach that Greece had exploited previously to its own benefit 12 years ago. By banishing the burdensome ghosts of 2004, Portugal left the host nation of France stunningly crestfallen, lamenting what had just transpired.
Euro 2016 Final Match Highlights
120+1 min – Goal scorer Éder gets a last-minute free kick.
114 min – Yellow cards are coming up fast and furious with Pogba receiving one from referee Mark Clattenburg.
113 min – France miss a great chance to equalize with a miss from Nani.
112 min – Rui Patricio stops Evra from scoring a second goal for Portugal.
110 min – Substitute Éder scores the defining goal for Portugal with an aggressive low shot that Lloris can’t keep out.
109 min – Guerreiro takes a free kick but it deflects off the bar.
106 min – Matuidi is booked but stays on the pitch.
104 min – Portugal’s Quaresma takes the corner with Éder unsuccessfully heading the ball towards Lloris.
101 min – Desperation kicks in with Pogba winning a corner and Griezmann taking it.
99 min – Carvalho is booked for felling Coman.
98 min – Matuidi and Éder collide ending in a booking for the former.
Matuidi challenges and causes Éder to tumble. (Image Credit : www.theguardian.com)
80 min – The game picks up pace and Lloris has to work hard to deflect Nani’s cross.
66 min – Griezmann heads the ball originating from Pogba and Coman, but misses.
62 min – Referee Mark Clattenburg books Joäo Mário for tripping Giroud, giving France a corner.
59 min – Griezmann’s low shot is saved by Rui Patricio.
53 min – France gets a corner, and goalkeeper Rui Patricio fends off a potential goal.
Half-time: France 0-0 Portugal
45+2 min - Joäo Mário crosses to Nani, missing the far post by metres.
24 min – Cristiano Ronaldo is carried off the field on a stretcher with a knee injury.
8 min – Dimitri Payet challenges Cristiano Ronaldo, with the latter needing treatment.
The Euro 2016 opening scene. (Image Credit : www.theguardian.com)
Team Details Of Euro 2016 Final
Referee Mark Clattenburg (England)
Coach Didier Deschamps
France Line-up Hugo Lloris (G/C)(1), Patrice Evra (3), Antoine Griezmann (7), Dimitri Payet (8), Olivier Giroud (9), Blaise Mtuidi (14), Paul Pogba (15), Moussa Sissoko (18), Bacary Sagna (19), Laurent Koscielny (21), Samuel Umiti (22)
Substitutes Christophe Jallet (2), Adil Rami (4), N’Golo Kanté (5), Yohan Cabaya (6), André-Pierre Gignac (10), Anthony Martial (11), Morgan Schneiderlin (12), Eliaquim Mangala (13), Steve Mandanda (G)(16), Lucas Digne (17), Kingsley Coman (20), Benoît Costil (G) (23)
France's Euro 2016 score record
Group A: France 2-1 Romania
Group A :France 2-0 Albania
Group A : Switzerland 0-0 France
Last-16 : France 2-1 Republic of Ireland
Quarter-final : France 5-2 Iceland
Semi-final :Germany 0-2 France
Coach Fernando Santos
Portugal Line-up Rui Patricio (G)(1), Pepe (3), José Fonte (4), Raphael Guerreiro (5), Cristiano Ronaldo (C)(7), Joäo Mário (10), William Carvalho (14), Renato Sanches (16), Nani (17), Cédric (21), Adrien Silva (23)
Substitute Bruno Alves (2), Ricardo Carvalho (6), Joäo Moutinho (8), Éder (9), Vieirinha (11), Anthony Lopes (G), Danilo (13), André Gomes (15), Rafa Silva (18), Eliseu (19), Ricardo Quaresma (20), Eduardo (G)(22)
Portugal's Euro 2016 score record
Group F: Portugal 1-1 Iceland
Group F: Portugal 0-0 Austria
Group F: Hungary 3-3 Portugal
Last-16: Croatia 0-1 Portugal - aet
Quarter-final: Poland 1-1 Portugal (3-5 on penalties)
Semi-final: Portugal 2-0 Wales