Portugal emerge as 2016 Euro champions
Monday, 2016-07-11 10:51:34
NDO – Substitute Eder scored in the 109th minute to edge Portugal past hosts France 1-0 in the 2016 Euro final on July 11 marking Seleccao’s first European Championship title in history.
It was an upsetting outcome for Didier Deschamps’ side, who had dominated the match and failed to capitalize on a number of chances, in front of their devastated home crowd, who arrived at the Stade de France hoping to celebrate a third European cup.
The Portuguese entered their second Euro final match in 12 years, determined to quench their long-lasting thirst for the continental cup which they bitterly missed out on following a 0-1 loss to Greece on home field in 2004.
However, Seleccao’s title hopes were dealt a large blow after key player Cristiano Ronaldo had to stop his own game 24 minutes into the match and was carried off the pitch on a stretcher due to a knee injury.
France had come into the match as heavy favourites hoping to lift the spirits of a nation still recovering from last November’s attacks in Paris.
The hosts, taking advantage of Ronaldo’s absence, put constant pressure on the guest side throughout the final; however, Portugal’s Pepe-led defensive line and the top form of goalkeeper Rui Patricio denied all strikes from Antoine Griezmann, Dmitri Payet and Olivier Giroud.
France’s best chance of the night arrived in stoppage time when substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac turned his marker inside out before scuffing a shot past the keeper and against the post, with the ball bouncing across the face of goal before landing out of harm’s way.
While Portugal continued to sit back in extra time, they had better chances with Eder’s header parried by goalie Hugo Lloris and Raphael Guerreiro striking the crossbar with a free kick before Eder’s shining moment.