Madrid: Twelve years after their heartbreak against Greece, they have beaten the hosts 1-0 in the final! This astonishing victory sums up all the sportiness among the players throughout the tournament.
Portugal, for the first time, claimed a major title by defeating France in Paris, silencing the Stade de France with Eder’s extra-time goal in a game that had been memorable only for Cristiano Ronaldo’s tears after being stretchered off midway through the first-half. And twelve years after suffering defeat as a host nation to Greece at Euro 2004, Portugal and Ronaldo claimed redemption as France froze on the biggest stage in front of their own supporters.
Cristiano Ronaldo wept tears of despair then tears of joy as the Euro 2016 final took him on an emotional journey from his lowest low to the high of lifting Portugal’s first major trophy.
It looked like all the aspirations of Ronaldo and Portugal would be shattered when he was taken off on a stretcher after 25 minutes following two attempts to battle through a knee injury sustained in a seventh-minute collision with France’s West Ham United midfielder Dimitri Payet.
For France, the defeat bordered on unthinkable. Les Bleus had convinced themselves that history was within their grasp at the Stade de France. On the same field where they won the 1998 World Cup, on the home soil where they hadn’t lost any of their previous 18 major-tournament matches, they felt the trophy was theirs for the taking.
But, in a fitting end to a tournament lifted by underdogs, Portugal spoiled the party. It was the country’s first win over France at a major tournament.