The final of the European Football Championship in 2016 was played between the host nation France and Portugal. Portugal defeated Wales in the semi-finals while France knocked out reigning world champions Germany. France was slightly favorites for the win, thanks to the strong game against the Germans.
Cristiano Ronaldo injured
Expectations were high on Portugal’s big star, Cristiano Ronaldo. Already after approximately 20 minutes played, however, he got hit by a hard tackle to the knee. Ronaldo tried to play on, but had to leave the game, and the setback was a fact. If France were favorites before the game, they were even bigger favorites now. Portugal could not possibly win the European Championship without their big star!
A tight game over 90 minutes
The game was fairly even. Both teams were disciplined in their defenses and quick in their passes France might have a certain advantage, but had difficulties to create to any clear scoring chances. The best chance they had was a shot that hit the inside of the post just before full-time. Had the ball been a few centimeters to the right, France had been the European champion today. That was not the case though.
Éder scored the deciding goal
The match went into extra time. The first quarter of was goalless. Five minutes into the second quarter Portugal’s substitute Éder got the ball outside the French penalty box. He shot a low right screw hard enough to find the net behind France’s goalkeeper. 1-0 Portugal, which was the end result: Portugal was the European Champions! A redemptive victory for a nation that used to have a golden generation that failed to go all the way in the major championships.
We summarize: Euro 2016
The European Championships 2016 has not offered the most beautiful gameplay we have seen: in fact, Portugal only won a single match after 90 minutes of play. However, there has been a championship where we have enjoyed smaller nations overachieving. Especially Iceland’s success when they reached the quarter-finals by knocking out England but also Wales advancement to the semifinal. Of course we Swedes are not satisfied with our national team not scoring a single goal (besides the own goal against Ireland) in the three group matches, but at the same time, we look forward to what the new generation of internationals can cause in qualifying for the World Cup in 2018 where we set against nations like the Netherlands and France. Before that, however, a football tournament is played during the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. The Football summer of 2016 is far from over!