Date: July 10, 2016
Result: Portugal 1 France 0
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Portugal are European champions for the first time after an injury-time goal from substitute Eder gave them a 1-0 win over hosts France at Stade de France.
Portugal played much of the match without injured captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the pitch in tears midway through the first half, his left knee injured by a hefty challenge from Dimitri Payet.
There were shades of 1998 when another Ronaldo, also unfit, struggled for Brazil and France won 3-0. But 18 years ago, France went 2-0 by half-time and easily swept past their opponents. Here, they struggled with the expectations that they would overcome their Ronaldo-less opponents. Instead, it was Portugal who rose to the occasion, grinding out a victory that was sealed by Eder’s late strike.
Boos from the Paris crowd greeted Portugal on the final whistle, but Portugal had done to France what Greece did to them in 2004. Then, as hosts and favourites, they had been shocked by the rank outsiders.
France had began in determined fashion. Powerful runs by midfielders Moussa Sissoko and Blaise Matuidi unsettled Portugal, who struggled to overcome early nerves.
Dimitri Payet’s crude challenge on Ronaldo was not penalised by referee Mark Clattenburg, but Portugal’s captain collapsed in pain. After intitial treatment, a tearful Ronaldo returned to the pitch, his left knee heavily strapped, but it soon became clear that he would not be able to continue.
France continued to press for the opening goal. Antoine Griezmann’s header from Payet’s pass was tipped over by Rui Patricio, while Sissoko’s brilliant turn past Adrien Silva created the space for a powerful shot that was parried by Rui Patricio in the best chance of the half.
But Ronaldo’s departure began to inhibit France and it was Portugal who played the better football in the last 10 minutes of the half. With Nani as a lone striker and Ronaldo’s replacement Ricardo Quaresma on the right flank, teenager Renato Sanches assumed a more influential position in the centre of Portugal’s midfield.
France began the second half with Ronaldo’s departure still weighing on their minds and they struggled to take the game to Portugal. Payet, his main contribution having been to nobble Ronaldo, departed just before the hour mark, replaced by Kingsley Coman. The substitute had an immediate impact, supplying the cross from which a flying Griezmann almost headed France ahead, but with only Rui Patricio to beat, he glanced over.
France keeper Hugo Lloris was finally called into action in the 80th minute when he saved from Quarema’s volley seconds after he had acrobatically pushed out Nani’s cross.
Sissoko, relegated with Newcastle last season but France’s best player on the night, hit a thundering shot that drww a fine save from Rui Patricio and Andre-Pierre Gignac, on for the ineffective Olivier Giroud, turned past Pepe in injury-time, beat Rui Patricio, but his shot struck a post.
During the interval before the start of extra-time, Ronaldo emerged from the tunnel, his knee heavily bandaged, to urge his team-mates on, one by one. But Portugal coach Fernando Santos had already used all three subs and it looked as if his tiring team might struggle in the extra period. But substitute Eder, on for the exhausted Renato Sanches, gave the French defence a new problem to think about. Lloris did well to push away Eder’s downward header from a corner and then tipped Raphael Guerreiro’s free-kick onto the bar.
Just as France thought they had been lucky to survive that, and with minds turning towards penalties, Eder picked up the loose ball 30 yards out and fired a fierce low shot that Lloris could not keep out.
Portugal had twice needed extra-time on their way to the Final, against Croatia and Poland, but for France this was a new experience. In the remaining minutes after Eder’s goal, they were unable to find the equaliser.
Eder’s late goal that sealed victory for Portugal in a game that was seemingly headed for penalties. The former Braga striker had spent the second half of last season on loan in France, at Lille, having endured a frustrating, goalless spell at Swansea City.
Man of the match
For once, Pepe eschewed the histrionics and gave a faultless performance in defence for Portugal.
Matter of fact:
Eder’s goal was the first Final winner scored in extra-time since David Trezeguet’s for France against Italy in 2000.
Portugal played better after Ronaldo went off injured. A young Portuguese midfield – Renato Sanches 18, William Carvalho 24, Joao Mario 23 – were more comfortable passing to their best-placed team-mate, rather than always looking to find Ronaldo.
Attempts on target
01 Rui Patricio
04 Jose Fonte
05 Raphael Guerreiro
07 Cristiano Ronaldo (20 Ricardo Quaresma 25)
10 Joao Mario
14 William Carvalho
16 Renato Sanches (09 Eder 79)
23 Adrien Silva (Joao Moutinho 67)
Starting formation: 4-1-3-2
Rui Patricio – Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro – William Carvalho – Renato Sanches, Adrien Silva, Joao Mario – Nani, Ronaldo
01 Hugo Lloris
03 Patrice Evra
07 Antoine Griezmann
08 Dimitri Payet (20 Kingsley Coman 58)
09 Olivier Giroud (10 Andre-Pierre Gignac 78)
14 Blaise Matuidi
15 Paul Pogba
18 Moussa Sissoko (11 Anthony Martial 105)
19 Bacary Sagna
21 Laurent Koscielny
22 Samuel Umtiti
Starting formation: 4-4-1-1
Lloris – Sagna, Koscielny Umtiti, Evra – Sissoko, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra – Griezmann – Giroud
Portugal: Cedric 35, Joao Mario 62, William Carvalho 98, Fonte 118
France: Matuidi 97, Pogba 114
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Eng)