Portugal ruin French party, Ronaldo off

Portugal, for the first time, claimed a major title by defeating France in Paris, silencing the Stade de France with Eder’s extra-time goal in a game that had been memorable only for Cristiano Ronaldo’s tears after being stretchered off midway through the first-half.

Ronaldo ended the game, with his left knee heavily strapped, prowling the technical area as though he were the Portugal coach.

And 12 years after suffering defeat as a host nation to Greece at Euro 2004, and numerous semi-finals since, Portugal and Ronaldo claimed redemption as France froze on the biggest stage in front of their own supporters.

So the Henri Delaunay Trophy remains in Iberia, with Portugal succeeding back-to-back winners Spain.

Didier Deschamps had complained about his team’s schedule ahead of this game – playing their semi-final against Germany on Thursday – insisting that just two full days of recovery was insufficient.

But could the feelgood factor carry Les Bleus over the line against a Portugal team that, for all their inability to put opponents away, had reached this final without losing?

As well as physical and mental fatigue, France also had to shrug off the pressure of emulating the teams of 1984 and 1998, which won the European Championships and World Cup respectively on home soil.

The game was only eight minutes old before it became clear that Ronaldo would not be single-handedly carrying Portugal to victory. Having received the ball, Ronaldo was flattened by a clumsy challenge by Dimitri Payet which went unpunished by referee Mark Clattenburg.

The Portugal captain was clearly in discomfort, rolling on the turf while clutching his left knee. Treatment followed, but Ronaldo could only limp and shuffle around the pitch before going down in tears 10 minutes later. Strapping was applied to his left leg, but it was a futile attempt to keep the 31-year-old on the pitch.

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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