Patricio, Eder help Ronaldo-less Portugal to EURO 2016 crown
Eder scored a goal in the 109th minute to lift Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal to its first ever major tournament title, a 1-0 win over host France as EURO 2016 concluded on Sunday.
The substitute’s fourth international goal in 29 caps was enough for Portugal thanks to the outstanding goalkeeping of Rui Patricio, who was credited with seven saves.
Ronaldo’s injury came in the opening 10 minutes when Dimitri Payet surprised Ronaldo with a tackle. The captain went down and clutched his knee, briefly leaving the field twice before finally exiting in the 25th.
Moments later, Antoine Griezmann forced Rui Patricio into a fabulous save. The ensuing corner was headed at the keeper by Olivier Giroud.
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Portugal had problems containing a fit and motivated Moussa Sissoko, though the final ball continued to elude Les Bleus. Also instrumental in that failure to break through were center backs Pepe and Jose Fonte.
It’s easy to forget that so much of France’s tactics would’ve been focused on Ronaldo, and Didier Deschamps’ crew looked perplexed at times.Kingsley Coman came on for an ineffective Payet with a half-hour to play and changed the game, his 66th minute cross nearly headed home by Griezmann.
Coman on to target Cedric. #SaintsFC RB v. good going forward but caught at times defensively. Coman’s pace causing problems #POR 0-0 #FRA
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) July 10, 2016
Giroud slipped down the left of the box to force Patricio into another solid save, and the 75th minute saw France looking more likely to find the opener.
Hugo Lloris was called into action for the first time in a great deal of time and looked shaky in dealing with an 80th minute chip from Nani but scooped up an ensuing overhead kick to keep it 0-0.
Sissoko teed up a blast in the 84th, but Patricio dove to make a two-handed parry. And Andre-Pierre Gignac worked Pepe before hitting a stoppage time ball off the far post. Was fortune on Portugal’s side?
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Extra time found, well, a continued dearth of excitement. It took almost the entire first period for a moment of import, as Eder was robbed by Lloris.
Referee Mark Clattenberg misread handball on Eder as one on Laurent Koscielny, and Raphael Guerrero almost scored on the resulting free kick. The crossbar won the battle, though.
Eder found the goal though moments later, shrugging off a pull to carry to the middle of the pitch and lash a shot past a diving Lloris. It wasn’t the finest moment for the Spurs keeper.
An injury to Guerrero left Portugal down to 10 men in the final moments of the match, but it was not to be for France.