Portugal 1-0 France (AET)
Portugal have won Euro 2016 after Eder’s stunning extra-time strike gave them a 1-0 victory over hosts France in Paris, despite Cristiano Ronaldo coming off injured in the first half.Former Eder who came on as a late second-half replacement for Renato Sanches, struck low into the bottom corner past Hugo Lloris from 25 yards in the 109th minute to hand Portugal their first major tournament crown in dramatic fashion.
After the lights of the Stade de France were left on overnight, hundreds of moths threatened to cause havoc in the build-up to the match, but the players looked undeterred in the early stages.Portugal had the first half-chance of the game with new Valencia signing Nani striking over the bar from the right corner of the area with a first-time half volley after Cedric Soares’ searching ball from deep. It was never troubling Lloris but the winger should have done better.Tournament top scorer Griezmann’s instinctive header inside the area looped towards the top corner moments later, only for Rui Patricio to acrobatically tip wide, before disaster struck for Ronaldo.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner came off worse after clashing knees with Dimitri Payet following a hefty but fair challenge from the Frenchman. Ronaldo was in tears last night as he was twelve years ago when Greece defeated Portugal in the EURO 2004 final. After receiving treatment and returning to the pitch he was clearly struggling and went down again. The Real Madrid man couldn’t hide his emotions as he passed the captains armband onto Nani and left the field on a stretcher.
Portugal manager Fernando Santos replaced Ronaldo with Ricardo Quaresma, but his side remained conservative for the remainder of the first half as France pushed for the opener.
Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko was France’s brightest player in the first half turned wonderfully in the area to gain a yard on Adrien Silva but his fierce effort from 12 yards was beaten away by Patricio. The early stages of the second half continued in a similar fashion as France dominated possession while failing to create any clear-cut chances, forcing Didier Deschamps to replace Payet with winger Kingsley Coman.Griezmann came close with 25 minutes remaining, heading over from six yards after Coman’s superb cross from the left, an opportunity that looked tailor-made for the Atletico Madrid man having scored two headers previously in the tournament.
Coman then fed the ball through to Olivier Giroud to shoot from a tight angle from the left of the area, but Patricio was equal to it, parrying it across goal and clear.At the other end, Lloris’ acrobatic punch clear from Nani’s mis-hit cross put France in danger, but the Tottenham goalkeeper was able to easily catch Quaresma’s rebound from an overhead kick. Sissoko then stung the gloves of Patricio with a thundering long range effort but the keeper was once again alert to the danger.
The best chance of the match came in injury time through substitute Andre Pierre Gignac.Receiving the ball with his back to goal from Patrice Evra’s cross, Gignac turned Pepe six yards out before striking the foot of the near post.The ball then rolled across the six-yard box, but Griezmann could not convert as Portugal survived into extra time, the fourth time in six major tournament finals that a contest needed the extra period.
Only one goal had been scored in the previous four periods of extra time in this tournament, but Eder did his best to buck the trend, powering a header towards goal from Quaresma’s corner, only for Lloris to beat clear.Guerreiro then hit the bar from a 25-yard free-kick. In all honesty this free should not have been given. Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded it for handball but replays showed cleared Eder had in fact handled the ball, not the penalised Laurent Koscielny.
And it was substitute Eder who scored the all-important goal. Picking the ball up 25 yards out from fellow sub Joao Moutinho, the Lille striker battled off the challenge of Koscielny, who couldn’t commit to a tackle due to his yellow card, before striking low into the bottom corner past Lloris’ outstretched hand, sending the vocal Portugal support into ecstasy.
Despite a late half-chance for substitute Anthony Martial, Portugal were able to hold on and the early tears of despair turned to tears of joy for Ronaldo as he lifted the trophy high above his head.
A lot will be written about this tournament but last night Portugal exercised their demons of twelve years ago as they broke the hearts of a nation.
Man of the Match – Pepe (Portugal)
- Ricardo Quaresma replaces Cristiano Ronaldo 25 mins
- Joao Moutinho replaces Adrein Silva 66 mins
- Eder replaces Renato Sanches 79 mins
- Kingsley Coman replaces Dimitri Payet 58 mins
- Andre-Pierre Gignac replaces Olivier Giroud 78 mins
- Anthony Martial replaces Moussa Sissoko 110 mins
Portugal – Cedric Soares,Joao Mario,Raphael Guerreiro,William Carvalho,Jose Fonte,Rui Patricio.
France – Samuel Umtiti,Blaise Matuidi, Laurent Koscielny, Paul Pogba.