EURO 2016: Portugal lift the trophy as Eder's heroics in extra time gives them 1-0 win over France
Portugal managed to erase the memories of EURO 2004 as Ronaldo achieved his dream of lifting a major trophy with the national team. In a spirited performance they managed to pip the favourites France after Eder scored an extra-time winner to seal the victory for the hosts.
Portugal: Rui Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Joao Mario, Moutinho, W Carvalho, Renato Sanches; Nani, Ronaldo.
France: Lloris (C); Evra, Umtiti, Koscielny, Sagna; Matuidi, Pogba, Sissoko; Griezmann, Payet, Giroud;
Ronaldo had a mixed tournament leading upto the final. But he had delivered in the moments that mattered. That 3-3 draw against Austria and the semi-final against Wales were games where they needed CR7 to inspire them and he did.
Griezmann barring an unusually quiet first game had been arguably one of the players or even THE player of the tournament. Les Bleus' performance wasn't the best in the semis against Germany but they ground out the win which is what good teams do.
Both teams named their best XI with Pepe returning for the Portuguese for the final.
France were expected to be the more offensive team and they lived up to that expectation in the opening stages. Griezmann was the first to test Rui Patricio. Les Bleus won possession near the Portuguese half and Payet found Girezmann with a chip and the Atletico man’s header forced Patricio into an acrobatic save.
In the 23rd minute, the unthinkable happened for Portugal. Ronaldo had to be stretchered off the pitch after colliding with Payet. The man left the pitch in tears and it was the worst possible end to his tournament. Ricardo Quaresma took his place.
Both teams were matching each other blow for blow. France did have more of the possession but could not find a goal for their attacking play. Portugal also had their chances but once again they failed to make a mark in the final third.
The teams continued in the same back and forth pattern from the first half, but as the game went by France started to impose themselves more. Everyone in blue thought France had taken the lead 20 minutes into the second half.
Coman who had just come on for Dimitri Payet produced a peach of a cross and the hero for France in the tournament so far attempted a glancing header only to see it go above the bar. Portugal were hanging on.
Next, Giroud came close to finding that goal. The Arsenal striker took a shot from a wide angle and Patricio saved at his near post. Portugal came close to snatching the game themselves as Quaresma’s overhead attempt after the ball ricocheted off the crossbar forced Lloris into a smart save.
Just before the end of normal time, Gignac came agonizingly close to winning it for France but his shot hit the near post. The game went into extra time.
Once again both teams looked deadlocked as they tried to go for the final kill. The first goal of the game came completely out of the blue. In the 108th minute, Eder unleashed a low powerful drive with his right foot and it beat Lloris who dived desperately but he was never getting to that.
The French were stunned, the stadium fell silent as Les Belus’ desperately went in search of an equalizer. But it was Ronaldo’s day as Portugal lifted their first ever European Championship trophy!