Despite Ronaldo’s early injury and subsequent exit, Portugal managed to score a winning goal in the final match of Euro Cup 2016. The stunning victory in the European Championship came as a great shock to the French who were not expecting the winning strike.
The brilliant attack of France against Ireland, Iceland and Germany couldn’t penetrate a stubborn Portuguese rearguard. Given the Portuguese reputation for defending before the semi-finals and failing to win the 90-minutes game against any country but Wales, many believed that Portugal was undeserving of the victory.
However, France and Portugal rode their luck in early games but there was no doubting they deserved their semi-final wins over Germany and Wales respectively.
Prior to his departure, it had been a fast-paced start with France's Moussa Sissoko a bullish presence in midfield, frequently charging through tackles and bursting into the box. Yet, France failed to get behind the strong defence of Selecção das Quinas to score for their team. It completely smothered Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud.
Ever since Portugal was defeated by Greece in Euro 2004, they have retained the tag of ‘underdogs’. The triumph also won them great respect and the ghosts of 2004 have finally been exorcised for the Portuguese.
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 and then out of harm's way.
Eder’s moment of magic came with the thundering out-of-the-blue shot at 109th minute in the extra time making it his first competitive goal for Portugal. His physical presence also forced Laurent Koscielny and Samuel Umtiti onto the back foot – and his masterful bullying of the France central defenders created the space from which his stunning drive won EURO.
The trophy was lifted by teary-eyed Ronaldo, who was earlier stretchered off and had to be substituted after just 20 minutes into the Final.