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France put paid to plucky Portugal

This 1984 UEFA European Championship semi-final had everything: a team leading for most of the match, a late equaliser, three goals in extra time and Michel Platini's 119th-minute winner.

Michel Platini clinches it in the final throes of France's EURO '84 semi-final against Portugal
Michel Platini clinches it in the final throes of France's EURO '84 semi-final against Portugal ©AFP

France 3-2 Portugal, aet
(Domergue 24 114, Platini 119; Rui Jordão 74 98)
Marseille, 23 June 1984

Arguably the most vivid match in the competition's history, in many ways it resembled the famous 1970 FIFA World Cup semi-final between Italy and West Germany as one team held sway for much of the game only to concede a late equaliser. There were more goals in extra time, for both sides, before Michel Platini rose to the occasion with a last-gasp winner.

It was all free-flowing stuff but the first 20 minutes had been riddled with petty fouls and one of these, by António Frasco on Platini, led to the opening goal. The French captain shaped to take the kick but left it for Jean-François Domergue to come in from the other side and thump a left-footed shot that went in off João Pinto's head.

Portugal had again picked a second striker to support Rui Jordão, yet everything was happening at the other end. In the first few minutes of the second half Manuel Bento saved at the feet of both Luis Fernandez (who put the rebound just wide) and Platini, and kept out two efforts by Alain Giresse, who then blasted narrowly off target. It was one-way traffic, most of it directed by Platini.

However, Portugal took heart from being only one down, and eventually Fernando Chalana appeared on the left, dinked in a shallow cross and the hard-working Jordão headed in his first goal of the tournament. Bento then made his umpteenth save at the feet of Platini, before touching the ball onto the bar when Didier Six connected with the rebound. It was a splendid double save from a goalkeeper only two days short of his 36th birthday.

Opposite number Joël Bats had to do his bit in extra time, denying Nené – France were a goal behind by this point. Again Chalana supplied the cross for Jordão, who volleyed into the ground and into the far top corner. France might have been forgiven for despairing; instead they threw everything into attack, and with five minutes left two defenders were involved in their equaliser. Domergue found Yvon Le Roux, his short pass reaching Platini, who got the ball away to the left as he was tackled for Domergue to score.

Portugal were hanging on for penalties now, but France made one last attempt to win it in open play. When Jean Tigana's pass was blocked, he won the ball back and emptied his lungs to beat a man to the byline. When his low cross cut out Bento it was coolly stopped by Platini and clipped in, to the explosive delight of a partisan Marseille crowd.

The sight of Platini running along the touchline with his arms out and a sea of French flags flying in the crowd behind him was the enduring image of the championship. There was great honour in defeat for Portugal, yet no one could begrudge that France midfield its greatest day, especially Platini and the unquenchable Tigana, who made the winner on his 29th birthday.

What happened next?
Platini's ninth goal of the tournament and Bruno Bellone's last-minute effort earned France a memorable 2-0 victory over Spain in the Paris final. Two years later the Bleus' FIFA World Cup campaign ended as it had in 1982, with semi-final loss to West Germany. The next finals they hosted – the 1998 World Cup – brought a second major title, closely followed by a third at UEFA EURO 2000 (with France again beating Portugal in extra time in the semis).