EURO Classics: Portugal 1-0 France, 2016

Watch the drama of the EURO 2016 final unfold after getting the background here.

Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo  celebrate with the EURO trophy in 2016
Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate with the EURO trophy in 2016 Getty Images

"One of the happiest moments" of Cristiano Ronaldo's career was to come as underdogs Portugal faced two-times champions and hosts France in Saint-Denis.

Watch in full on UEFA.tv


Context

Antoine Griezmann: EURO 2016 top scorer
Antoine Griezmann: EURO 2016 top scorer

Runners-up to Greece as EURO 2004 hosts, Portugal made it through the group stage with three draws as one of the best third-placed teams. They needed extra time to edge past Croatia, and a penalty shoot-out to down Poland, before the Seleção das Quinas sealed their EURO final spot by beating Wales in the last four. Coach Fernando Santos promised the showpiece would give the "Portuguese people the greatest joy of their lives". Champions in 1984 and 2000, and favourites to lift the cup for a third time, host nation France had topped their group before overcoming the Republic of Ireland, Iceland and Germany in the knockouts.

Key players

Antoine Griezmann: Pivotal as Atlético Madrid reached the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final, the attacking dynamo scored six in Les Bleus' first six EURO 2016 games – including both semi-final goals against Germany.

Dimitri Payet: On the back of a fantastic season in England with West Ham – nine goals and 12 assists – Payet struck three more times en route to the 2016 showpiece, earning Man of the Match honours twice.

All Cristiano Ronaldo's EURO goals
All Cristiano Ronaldo's EURO goals

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portuguese skipper had claimed his third Champions League winners' medal before these finals, with Real Madrid. Equalising twice against Hungary, he ensured his side clawed their way out of the group stage.

What happened

With Les Bleus in the ascendant early on, defender Pepe recalled Portugal losing their "best player and leader" as injury forced talisman Ronaldo's substitution on 25 minutes. However, the captain continued to orchestrate from the touchline, providing second-half sub Éder with "strength and positive energy".

Frenchman André-Pierre Gignac was so nearly the hero of Saint-Denis, hitting the post in added time, but the final remained goalless after 90 minutes. Fernando Santos then experienced "incredible emotions" as Éder shrugged off his marker to rifle in a 109th-minute winner from outside the box and so clinch the Henri Delaunay Cup for Os Navegadores.

Reaction

Highlights: Six memorable EURO extra-time winners
Highlights: Six memorable EURO extra-time winners

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "We were as simple as doves and as wise as serpents."

Pepe, Portugal defender: "The team showed humility, resembling the Portuguese people themselves, a very humble and hard-working people that take pride in what they do."

André-Pierre Gignac, France forward: "I said to myself in the shower that hitting the post will haunt me until the end of my career and even afterwards. It's a nightmare."

Hugo Lloris, France goalkeeper: "We should be proud of what we have done. Even if we lost the game, we achieved many positive things."

Aftermath

Two years on, Portugal fell short at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, succumbing to Uruguay in the last 16.

Watch all of Portugal's 2018/19 Nations League goals
Watch all of Portugal's 2018/19 Nations League goals

More silverware was on the horizon, though, as they staged and won the inaugural 2019 UEFA Nations League, Gonçalo Guedes's 60th-minute strike beating the Netherlands in the Porto final – Portugal's tenth game unbeaten.

France bounced back in Russia in 2018 to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for a second time. Becoming just the third man to win the World Cup as both player (1998) and coach, Didier Deschamps said his men "showed mental quality" and "deserved to win".

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