Portugal won their first ever major tournament title on Sunday as they defeated France 1-0 in the UEFA EURO 2016 final in Paris. Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed off after 25 minutes after he collided with France’s Dimitri Payet eight minutes earlier. The Captain looked to have suffered a knee injury which he tried to run off a couple of times.
Eventually, Ronaldo was subbed off and handed the Captain armband off to Nani. Throughout the first half, both teams tried to get a lead but France dominated possession while Portugal provided a few counter-attacks. Antoine Griezmann had a stretched header saved by Rui Patricio, and Patricio made a firm-fisted save on Moussa Sissoko‘s long-range effort as well.
France almost had a late winner in the 91st minute after substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac‘s attempt went off the left post. Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro almost won it on a left-footed free kick in the 108th minute that hit the crossbar, but ex-Swansea City forward Eder rifled a right-footed effort past Hugo Lloris into the bottom left corner. Joao Moutinho was credited with the assist on the game-winning goal.
It was the forward’s fourth international goal for Portugal and it couldn’t have come at a better time. France looked for an equalizer but looked deflated after going down 1-0. In the final moments, Ronaldo was full of emotion on the sidelines acting like a second manager besides Fernando Santos.
At the final whistle, Portugal defeated France 1-0 which sent Ronaldo and his teammates into ecstasy on the sidelines. Besides Eder’s strike, Rui Patricio easily was the man of the match stopping all seven of France’s attempts on goal. Hugo Lloris made two saves, but was rarely troubled in the match.
This definitely had to feel good for Portugal after suffering a 1-0 defeat vs Greece as hosts of the 2004 European Championship. According to BBC Sport, “Portugal are the 10th different nation to win the European Championship.”
After defeating the reigning World Cup Champs Germany in the semifinals, France were heavy favorites heading into the final. Forward Antoine Griezmann lifted the Golden Boot Trophy scoring six goals this tournament, which is the second-most goals ever by a single player.
Still, it shows that a team only needs one moment of magic in order to win a game. Portugal may not have had their star, but they continued to defend and Eder provided the moment of magic.
France will feel heartbroken after losing the final in their home country, and they will learn from it. The UEFA EURO 2016 tournament is now over after a month of action throughout France, and we have seen a lot of surprises, drama, excitement, and heartbreak.
It has been an entertaining tournament that has brought the best out of fans, players, and managers alike. Portugal are the new European Champions and will get to keep that title at least until 2018.
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