PORTUGAL ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!

By Updated at 2016-07-10 22:21:55 +0000

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PORTUGAL ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!

What an astonishing story! Twelve years after their heartbreak against Greece, they have beaten the hosts 1-0 in the final!

Portugal are European champions, despite losing Ronaldo after 25 minutes, despite winning one match in 90 minutes, despite looking like they could lose 4-0 in the first 10 minutes.

France are shattered, with Coman in tears as well. I’ve never known so many tears in a football match. So many people were immense for Portugal: Pepe, Nani, Rui Patricio, Ronaldo, Carvalho, Pepe, Pepe. Pepe.

Fernando Santos' side have won just one of seven games in the regular 90 minutes, and the country's first international honor was secured by Eder's 109th minute strike after the teams played out a 0-0 stalemate.
It was a triumph, however, which was achieved without Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo who was forced off after 25 minutes. The 31-year-old, in his second European Championship final, took a knock on the knee in the 17th minute, but couldn't shake it off after lengthy treatment. He was eventually replaced on 24 minutes by Ricardo Quaresma.

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The Real Madrid star has been struggling since April with fitness issues, and limped through the Champions League final against city rivals Atletico. With three goals and three assists, Ronaldo was expected to be Portugal's only hope of preventing a third European win for the host nation.
Football appeared to take a backseat in Europe's showcase international final, with security creeping back into the limelight. Fans clashed at the fan zone beneath the famous Eiffel Tower in the center of the French capital, while on 54 minutes, a pitch invader was tackled by four security personnel.
Anti-climatic finale
If the game was to find a winner, it needed some inspiration. And Atletico's Antoine Griezmann has, indeed, stepped up to the mark on many occasions. Approaching the hour mark, the tournament's top goalscorer latched on to a fine pass and forced Patricio into a comfortable save.

Eight minutes later, however, the 25-year-old passed up the sort of chance he has buried with aplomb this season, glancing his header from Kingsley Coman's cross wide.
Late efforts from Olivier Giroud and Moussa Sissoko kept Portugal on the back foot in the final minutes. Deschamps' men almost found a breakthrough in the first minute of stoppage time when substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac twisted away from Pepe inside the box and struck against the post.

Victory in Paris

The pattern of extra time was largely similar, but on 103 minutes French keeper Hugo Lloris reacted brilliantly to keep out Eder's header from just a few yards out. But Lloris was beaten five minutes later when Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro arrowed a free-kick against the crossbar as the Portuguese edged closer to the all important goal.
And less than 100 seconds later, Eder turned past his marker around 25 yards from goal and drilled a low shot past Lloris. France's efforts to equalize in front of their home supporters were in vain, Anthony Martial unable to strike a possible chance on target in the final minute.
Portugal become the 10th different nation to win the European Championship.


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