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Final Euro 2016: Portugal – France 1-0

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Euro 2016 Final: Portugal 1 – 0 France

So, that’s it, after one month of non-stop football, we finally have a winner. Portugal beat France with a goal late in the extra time despite playing much of the match without their captain and talismanic player, Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a superb victory for Portugal, and substitute Eder’s spectacular strike in the 109th minute settled the issue for them.

It all began so poorly in Portugal as Ronaldo was badly hurt in his knee after a gruelling challenge by France’s Dimitri Payet early in the 8th minute. Ronaldo struggled to carry on and in the 25th minute, decided to take himself off, unable to bear the pain.

However, France were completely unable to capitalise on Ronaldo’s injury. They did come close to winning on two occasions, when France’s Golden Boy, Antoine Griezmann missed an easy header that would have surely won the game for them, and later, towards the end of the stoppage time of the first 90 minutes of the game, when substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac turned and hit the inside of the post.

So close, so painfully close to being the Champions of Europe, but it was no to be. Portugal had other chances as well as Raphael Guerreiro hit the bar with a free-kick for Portugal after 108 minutes. But it didn’t take long for them to turn the tables on hosts France as Eder, who had come on as a substitute, hit a spectacular low strike from 25 yards, into the corner of the net, just past the despairing dive of France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Ronaldo did have a role to play as well, as he was playing the manager’s role, issuing instructions from the touchline in the closing moments of the match. It was clear to all how much Ronaldo cared about his country and their victory, as he was drawn to tears of joy after the spectacular win.

Indeed, Ronaldo has won every major prize in club football – he has won the Champions League with Manchester United and Real Madrid and won the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga on several occasions, but a landmark victory with his country had so far eluded him.

But not anymore! Ronaldo will always be remembered as the captain of the Portuguese team that won the European Championships. Images of him carrying the Euro 2016 trophy will be played on TV sets around the world for decades from now.

The debate between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as to who is the greatest footballer in the world has now been decided – Ronaldo is not just the greatest footballer of his generation, but perhaps the greatest ever, along with the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona. There has never been one like him and there will never be another like him.

As for France, they were terrible. It was as if Ronaldo’s absence affected them more than it affected Portugal. France were timid and lethargic and wasteful in front of goal. The likes of Dimitri Payet and Paul Pogba, about who so much was talked about, were useless in this match. Griezmann played well, but was unable to finish his chances. Coach Didier Deschamps would wonder what went wrong.

As for Portugal, Fernando Santos will now be remembered as the best coaches of all time. Every move made by the Portuguese coach worked to perfection. His self-belief in his team even when they were not playing well was evident. He certainly deserves the winner’s trophy as a coach.

But the best Portuguese players were the goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who was absolutely heroic and defenders Pepe and Jose Fonte, who were outstanding. This was the greatest moment in the history of Portuguese football and we expect the celebrations to carry on for months!

Congratulations to Portugal, The Champions of Europe!

It has been a pleasure for us to bring the Euro 2016 to our readers at ZapperNews.ro. We hope you enjoyed the Euro 2016 as much as we did. Adios!

Author: Raghav Hegde – India

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