Portugal won the 2016 European Championship, after substitute Eder scored in extra time to give his team a 1-0 win over France.
SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE—Portugal overcame the loss of injured captain Cristiano Ronaldo to beat France 1-0 in the European Championship final on Sunday, with a goal in extra time from substitute Eder securing their country’s first football title.
Just as the final looked destined for a penalty shootout, Eder cut through the French defence and struck a low shot from 25 metres past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 109th minute at the Stade de France.
Twelve years after losing to Greece on home soil in their last appearance in the final, it was Portugal’s turn to spoil the host nation’s party. And they achieved it after winning only one of their seven games at Euro 2016 inside 90 minutes, and after losing the inspirational Ronaldo midway through the first half.
“It was tough because we lost our main man and we had all our hopes pinned on him because he’s a player who can score a goal at any minute,” Portugal defender Pepe said. “When he said he couldn’t go on, I tried to tell my teammates that we have to win it for him. That we were going to fight for him.”
And they did.
Red and green confetti descended from the roof onto Ronaldo and his victorious teammates as supporters of the hosts flooded out of the stadium, denied a third victory on French soil to add to Euro ’84 and the 1998 World Cup.
“Football can be very cruel,” said Lloris, France’s captain. “The overriding emotion is a lot of sadness.”
It was a mostly dull and stodgy final but the record books will only show that Portugal went from third place in its group to champion, and with little help from Ronaldo in its last match.