Portugal defeated host nation France 1-0 in the final of Euro 2016 after an extra-time strike from substitute Eder broke a scoreless deadlock.
Portugal’s captain, Cristiano Ronaldo suffered an early knock and despite twice attempting to carry on, was forced off in tears and replaced by Ricardo Quaresma while Nani assumed the captaincy.
The best chances in normal time went the way of France, with Antoine Griezmann’s header forcing a top-drawer save from Rui Patricio in the first half before Andre-Pierre Gignac manoeuvred his way into space before his shot trickled towards goal and bounced off the post in with just a couple of minutes remaining.
The moment that mattered arrived in the 109th minute when Portugal struck the lethal blow. Substitute Eder received the ball before working himself into space and unleashing a ferocious strike from outside the box that flew beyond the reach of the scrambling Hugo Lloris in goal. The winning goal was just Eder’s fourth goal in almost 30 appearances for the Portuguese national team. On this night though he became a hero for the national team.
Portugal’s defence held firm all night and did admirably well to hold out an exciting French line-up. There were many doubts over the team’s quality and potential to make the final after they finished third in the group stage but they have managed to perform the unthinkable and etch their place in Portuguese football history. – Patrick Staveley
Photo of Portugal celebrating with the trophy from the Euro 2016 Facebook page.