We could see a somewhat eventful game in 120 minutes at Stade de France in Saint-Denis; at the end of the standard time, the score was still 0-0.
Portugal has reached the final, despite only winning one of six Euro 2016 games in standard time, and now the team faced the host and two-time winner France.
France coach Didier Deschamps, as expected, selected the same starting lineup he used in the semi-final.
The French squad had already demonstrated their attacking potency and defensive resilience so we were extremely sure they were about to deliver a complete and balanced performance to win the final.
Portugal’s Pepe and Carvalho both trained on Saturday after their injury. Tonight fans were delighted by the fact that they returned to the starting eleven after missing the semi-final.
The team had another surprise; 18-year-old Portuguese Renato Sanches also played and made history: he was the youngest player to appear in an EURO final. The young “rough diamond” deserved his place in the starting eleven; he brought clear chances for his team. The teenager midfielder undoubtedly is the next big thing of the nation. You all must keep an eye on him!
In spite of everything Cristiano Ronaldo remains front as his country’s captain and talisman.
The first half was an easy way to start the match when each team endangered the opponent with wide and powerful shots. It was calmer, but the looser atmosphere swayed.
After the kick-off, France had a bit more of the possession but hasn’t been able to translate the advantages into goals. The team just caused Portugal discomfort by attacking and defending aggressively.
Already in the eighth minute, Ronaldo went down in apparent pain following a collision with Dimitri Payet, but got back on his feet and was ready to re-enter the game. After a while, the forward was back on the ground, and everyone was shocked by the thought that he’ll just end up in tears.
Well… Cristiano returned once again. He showed his passion for football hobbling, and we didn’t doubt it for a second that he wanted to play in this important game so poorly.
Sadly, in the 25th minute, he threw his captain’s armband and gave it to Nani. It was evident then that the all-time leading goal-scorer number 7 forced to exit.
It was heartbreaking how Ronaldo burst into tears while he was carried off the pitch. Head coach Fernando Santos replaced the superstar with Ricardo Quaresma, who didn’t disappoint his teammates.
The tension reached the fever pitch with the injury, meanwhile, the possession became balanced, and the referee had to hand out loads of yellow cards.
CR7’s tragic injury was the only thing that could overshadow the first half of a major international final. After it, the teams started the second half on equal footing, with the game mostly stuck in the middle third of the field.
In the opening period, France was dominant but failed to overrun Portugal. More possession, better goal-scoring chances, but sadly, they couldn’t show anything for it. However, Portugal never wavered though they had an outstanding player out of their team.
Moussa Sissoko and Antoine Griezmann had France’s best chances, but Rui Patrício’s fine form prevented the hosts from taking the lead.
This was the first time a Euro final ended goalless after 90 minutes since 2000.
The referee forced to add the 30 minutes of extra time, and the French squad started to play hurriedly. They came so close to victory, but Patrício made excellent saves.
In the extra time, Éder scored with a fantastic strike. He came on as a substitute in the 79th minute and ended the deadlock with just a few moments remaining.
France lacked the energy, guile and quality to solve the puzzle that was Portugal’s determined defence. The teams’ attacks lacked the sharpness, invention and final ball required to create genuine chances.
Ronaldo appeared as a Portugal manager in the last five minutes. He inspirited his mates, urged Rafael Silva back into the game.
Although we expected a lot more action and surprise from this clash, Portugal finally got the coveted trophy for the first time in their history. The host is stunned and disappointed, as this was France’s first loss in a major tournament game.
However, Portuguese celebrate their first-ever major title on a night of high drama on the outskirts of Paris.
France XI: Lloris, Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra, Matuidi, Pogba, Sissoko, Griezmann, Payet (Coman), Giroud (Gignac)
Portugal XI: Rui Patrício, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Ronaldo (Quaresma), Joao Mario, Carvalho, Sanches (Eder), Nani, Cedric, Silva (Moutinho)
The final whistle goes. Portugal are #EURO2016 champions! pic.twitter.com/c9OZVRlSu0
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) July 10, 2016