This Saturday, July 10, marks five years since Portugal proclaimed itself European champion for the first time in its history by surprising the host, France, at the Stade de France itself (1-0). In a few hours, this Sunday, the Portuguese team will give up the baton to Italy (which would thus win the title for the second time) or England (which would be released), the protagonists of the final at Wembley. Five years ago Cristiano Ronaldo raised the trophy to heaven as captain of the ‘seleçao das Quinas’.
The hard thing for Cristiano Ronaldo, however, was that he was only able to participate in the final for 25 minutes, as he had to retire because he was injured: he sprained his left knee and was replaced by ex-Barcelona player Ricardo Quaresma. So Portugal had to face all that remained of the final without its great symbol.
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And, without CR7 on the pitch, the outcome of that Euro 2016 had an unexpected hero: in extra time, specifically in the 109th minute, Eder scored the goal that gave Portugal the title and relegated France, the hosts, to the status of runner-up. Only two years later the ‘bleus’ were proclaimed world champions. Currently Eder is, at 33, without a team after leaving Lokomotiv Moscow.
Interestingly, Portugal struggled in the first phase and reached the eighth as one of the best third parties, behind Hungary and Iceland, a great revelation that gave the surprise by eliminating England in the second round (1-2). In that round, the Portuguese knocked out Croatia (0-1 in extra time), while in the quarterfinals they defeated Poland on penalties. Portugal reached the final after beating Wales, another of the tournament’s sensations, in the semifinals (2-0).
Cristiano Ronaldo added 3 goals and 3 assists in Euro 2016. The top scorer was today’s Barcelona player Antoine Griezmann, with 6 for France. The top assistants, the Belgian Eden Hazard and the Welshman Aaron Ramsey, with 4 each. Portugal, who were runners-up as hosts, in 2004, when they lost the final to Greece (0-1), finally came to glory. In this edition, the defense of the title lasted for the CR7 team until the second round, when they lost to Belgium (1-0).