Portugal gatecrashed France’s Euro 2016 party to win the European Championship for the first time in its history. Portugal’s 1-0 win was without leading star and talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Real Madrid forward was forced out of the game with a knee injury in the first half, but Portugal regrouped and thanks to some heroic goalkeeping from Rui Patricio took the game into extra time before Eder struck with 11 minutes to go.
The former Swansea striker, who came on as a late second-half replacement for Renato Sanches, struck low into the bottom corner past Hugo Lloris from 25 yards to hand Portugal their first-ever major tournament crown in dramatic fashion .
The sight of Portugal’s captain Ronaldo in tears after being substituted with a knee injury after 25 minutes was undoubtedly the key moment from a tame first half, though the majority of half-chances fell to France.
But the long night at Stade de France ended with an ecstatic Ronaldo lifting the Euro 2016 trophy, his earlier heartbreak been erased.
Speaking afterwards, Ronaldo revealed just how much finally achieving success with his national team meant to him.
“No one believed in us. I had already won everything with clubs. I lacked something with the national team. Portugal have deserved this after many years of sacrifice.
“It was not the final I wanted, but I am very happy. It is a trophy for all the Portuguese, for all immigrants, all the people who believed in us, so I am very happy and very proud.”
Twelve years after losing 1-0 to Greece as hosts of Euro 2004, Portugal inflicted the same fate on France, who were seeking a cathartic victory eight months on from the Paris terror attacks that left 130 people dead.
France coach, Didier Deschamps had hoped to lead his country to a fourth major tournament win, and third on home soil after Euro 1984 and the 1998 World Cup, when he was captain.