5 teams that surprised at the UEFA European championship
No football championship is complete without any upsets. We always get to see something new, a new rising team which can become the best in the future. Throughout the UEFA European Championships, there have been many upsets over the years but the best of these upsets are those in which the unheralded sides make a big impact on the entire tournament and not only in a single match.It’s not always the big guns who make the biggest results even in championships, sometimes teams go into tournaments seemingly just to make up the numbers but often a strange mix of determination, talent and luck brings them to the fore when they succeed in putting together a performance or more to upset the order of things.So here are 5 surprising team performances at the UEFA European Championships.
#5 Portugal - 1984
Ever since the days of the legendary Eusebio, Portugal failed to make it to any World Cup or European Championship in the next 18 years. This was finally broken when Portugal overcame Soviet Union and Poland to qualify for Euro 1984 in France, their maiden European Championship.
The Portuguese side was not as strong as those of France and West Germany but had some really decent players like Manuel Bento, Rui Jordao, Joao Pinto and Fernando Chalana. Portugal were placed in a tough group consisting of Spain, tournament favourites West Germany and Romania. In their opening game, Portugal held West Germany to a 0-0 draw.
This was followed by a 1-1 draw against Spain at Marseille. In their final group game at Nantes, Portugal needed to beat Romania to qualify and a late goal by Nene gave Portugal second place in the group above West Germany.
In the semifinals, Portugal were up against a very strong French side led by Michel Platini and his magic square Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Luis Fernandez. The match went on to become one of the greatest matches of the tournament with France taking the lead in the 24th minute through Jean-Francois Domergue and Portuguese talisman Rui Jordao equalising in the 74th minute to take the match to extra time.
In extra time, Jordao scored his second of the match to put Portugal 2-1 ahead but France equalised 6 minutes later when Domergue scored his second of the match and captain Michel Platini won the match for France in the 119th minute to take them to the final.