Portugal wins Euro 2016 with extra-time victory over France

Portugal wins Euro 2016 with extra-time victory over France

Portugal players celebrate winning after the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.

This final was a fitting an end to Euro 2016 - a cagey tournament punctuated by moments of magic.

Portugal is unbeaten in its 13 competitive fixtures under Fernando Santos (winning nine and drawing four).

True France might have been favorites to win this final given its home advantage, but this was a real opportunity for Ronaldo to showcase his talents in an worldwide final and add to the countless starring roles he has produced for Real Madrid.

As against Germany, there was an early French surge, but although an Antoine Griezmann header drew a fine save from Rui Patricio after Pepe's slip had given Payet time to float a ball into the box, it produced no breakthrough.

Coupled along with the more direct Olivier Giroud, Portugal's backline could be exposed in trying to focus their attention to the centre of the park, which makes space available for both Dimitri Payet and Moussa Sissoko to foray to the flanks.

Quite suddenly, just after halftime in extra time, there came a furry of chances in a Portuguese rally.

A juddering knee-on-knee challenge by Payet in the eighth minute left him writhing on the turf and after attempting to play on, he dropped to the ground in the 16th minute, tears filling his eyes.

French fans are familiar with Eder, who plays his club soccer with Lille in Ligue 1.

A stretcher was brought on and as the Portugal captain was carried off, to be replaced by Ricardo Quaresma, the whole stadium rose to applaud.

Sissoko stung Patricio's palms after a fine turn but play was becoming more tentative, with Jose Fonte nodding over before half-time was called. Then in extra time, Gignac's clever footwork found an opening, but his left-foot shot struck the post.

Lloris denied Eder's header as the first period of extra time ended and was relieved to see Guerreiro's free-kick rattle back off his crossbar.

Luck was on Portugal's side, and Eder was able to strike the decisive blow.

Cue wild scenes of celebration.

Now a nation still scarred by last year's terror attacks will seek sporting salvation from its football heroes and a chance to party again in the streets of Paris, where security has been intense during the tournament. "Just got to stay in it. 1 win out of 7 in 90mins!"

Ronaldo's early departure deprived him of the chance to beat Michel Platini's record of nine goals in a single Euro tournament. There was no seventh goal of Euro 2016 from the Atletico Madrid forward, who also lost out in the Champions League final six weeks ago to Ronaldo's Real Madrid.

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