— UEFA EURO (@UEFAEURO) July 10, 2016
Portugal have won the Euro 2016 tournament by beating the hosts 1-0 in the final on Sunday, in Paris.
Portugal suffered a major blow early in the game, when their captain and star man Cristiano Ronaldo had to be subbed off after picking up an injury due to a clash with France’s Dimitri Payet.
Since the departure of Ronaldo from the game, France became the clear favourites to win the final, but still couldn’t manage to score past the Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Antoine Griezmann – the top scorer of the tournament with six goals – had a terrific chance to head in a goal from close range in the second half, but somehow managed to direct the ball off target. Andre-Pierre Gignac also came close to win it for France in the 91st minute, but ended up hitting the post.
Following 90 minutes of goalless action, the game went on to extra time, with Portugal becoming the first team to play extra time three times in the same competition in the European Championship history.
In the 108th minute, Raphael Guerreiro hit the post from a free-kick, which the Portuguese were wrongly awarded. But a few seconds later, substitute Éder hit a dazzling low shot from 25 yards out, firing it past Hugo Lloris, and thereby winning the European Championship with a genius strike.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the captain and the leader of the squad, continued to give directions to the team from the touchline until the final whistle, following which he was reduced to tears once again.
The 31-year-old is now a reigning European Champion with both club and country, and now that he’s won a major title with his nation, the former Manchester United man will surely go down as a bonafide legend in footballing history.
In the post-match interview, match winner Éder also shed light on Ronaldo’s punditry ability, by revealing: “(Ronaldo) told me I would score the winning goal for the team. He gave me this strength, this energy and it was vital. It was a goal I’ve been working for from the first minute of the Euros. For all the work we did, for all of the Portuguese, it’s fantastic. It’s well deserved and we should all be congratulated.”
France coach Didier Deschamps reacted to the loss by stating: “The disappointment is there and it’s immense. We’ve let a big chance to be champions pass us by. There are no words to describe this feeling. You need time to digest it.
“We suffered together, we won together, and in the end we lose together. It’s difficult, but it’s like that. It would have been magnificent to offer our fans this trophy, at home. But it’s not the case in the end.”