Euro 16: Portugal Beat France to Become Champions

portugal footballThe final of Euro 2016 produced a massive shock, as Portugal pulled-off a 1-0 win over hosts France in extra-time, despite losing star player Cristiano Ronaldo very early in the game.

Portugal were the first of the two teams to threaten in attack on five minutes. Cedric launched a long ball forward to Nani, who chested the ball down and fired an effort over the bar.

The hosts went up the other end a minute later, as Moussa Sissoko volleyed well over the bar from the edge of the penalty area. Just a minute later and the Newcastle midfielder found striker Antoine Griezmann, who put his effort well wide of the post.

Portugal were handed a massive blow nine minutes when an innocuous challenge from Dimitri Payet left Cristiano Ronaldo needing treatment on a knee problem. The forward received treatment only to come back onto the field.

France had another chance on ten minutes. A long ball picked out Griezmann, who’s headed looked to be heading into the back of the net, but Portugal ‘keeper Rui Patricio produced a superb save to tip the ball over the bar.

Les Bleus had another chance from the resulting corner kick, as Olivier Giroud headed right at Rui Patricio. Ronaldo was clearly struggling, but carried on until the 17th minute when he went-off the pitch for treatment and came back on with a heavily taped knee.

France had another chance on 22 minutes, as Sissoko saw an effort from 25 yards out tipped over the bar by Rui Patricio. Ronaldo admitted defeat in his battle to stay on the pitch on 26 minutes, as he left the pitch to be replaced by Ricardo Quaresma.

France came forward again on 34 minutes. A move involving in Giroud, Griezmann and Payet resulted in Sissoko finding space in the area and hitting a powerful effort that Rui Patricio parried away.

Portugal offered a rare attacking threat on 38 minutes. Renato Sanches beat Paul Pogba in midfield and found full-back Raphael Guerreiro 20 yards out, only for the Dortmund-bound star to drag his effort on goal well wide of.

The referee adjudged that the effort took a deflection and from Joao Mario’s resulting corner kick centre-back Jose Fonte headed well over Hugo Lloris. That was the last notable effort of the intriguing first half.

The first effort of the second period did not arrive until 55 minutes, as France’s Pogba fired a volley from 30 yards out well over the bar. Les Bleus again came forward on 59 minutes. Substitute Kingsley Coman slipped Griezmann through, but Rui Patricio got down low at the near post to produce a relative comfortable stop.

Griezmann missed a fantastic opportunity to give Bleus the lead on 66 minutes. The forward headed home over the bar from close-range after good play by substitute Coman. On 75 minutes Portugal ‘keeper Rui Patricio was in action again, as he produced a good low save to kept out an effort from Giroud, which was from a similar to the position he scored from against Iceland.

Portugal came close to snatching the lead on 80 minutes. Mercurial winger Nani miss-kicked a effort from the right-wing, but it nearly beat Hugo Lloris who palmed the ball away and then kept out the rebound from Ricardo Quaresma.

France came again at Portugal on 84 minutes. Sissoko launched an effort towards goal from 30 yards out, but at full-stretched Rui Patricio palmed the ball away from goal.

French substitute Andre Pierre-Gignac cam agonisingly close to winning it for the hosts in stoppage-time. The Tigres striker picked-up the ball at the near post and turned Pepe, before hitting an effort against the post from close-range.

The game then went into extra-time, after Portugal survived the pressure from the hosts, without providing much of an attacking threat.

On 95 minutes Portugal had a chance as Pepe sent a header past the post from a Quaresma free-kick. The referee’s assistant flagged anyway, but it showed that Portugal could cause the French defence problems.

Fernando Santos’ side threatened on 103 minutes. Quaresma’s corner kick is headed down towards goal by striker Eder, but Lloris knocked the ball the ball away. The Selecao came close to taking the lead on 108 minutes.

Full-back Raphael Guerreiro produced a superb free-kick from 25 yards out that smashed against Hugo Lloris’ bar. The Selecao did take the lead a minute later and it came of nothing. Former-Swansea striker Eder beat Laurent Koscielny before hitting a powerful low effort from 25 yards out that beat Lloris to stun the Stade de France.

There was one chance left for France in stoppage-time, as substitute Anthony Martial saw an effort blocked and Gignac was flagged offside. That was the last attack of the game, as referee Mark Clattenburg blew his whistle and Portugal were crowned champions of Europe for the first time.