If the final was to be described in one word, it would be ‘heartbreaking’; the game had the word written all over it. Heartbreak for Cristiano Ronaldo as a collision with Frenchman Dimitri Payet saw him stretchered off the field after a couple of futile attempts to continue playing. Heartbreak for the fans when they saw Ronaldo teary eyed, with the expression of a kid that has been denied its chance at playing party pinata on his birthday. Heartbreak on the faces of the Portuguese supporters as the French continued to dominate in the absence of Ronaldo. Heartbreak on the faces of the French nation, as Eder scored the only goal of the game in the 110th minute of the game, efficiently sealing Portugal’s first ever major trophy. And then there was jubilance in the Portuguese contingent, as their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo first showed glimpses of his mentoring from Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline, and then roared in celebration in the stands at Stade de France on a night that failed its promise to the French.
The game started with Portugal slightly shaky at first, but just as they were beginning to find their feet, a collision between Payet and Ronaldo saw him go to ground, needing medical assistance. Ronaldo continued to limp on for 10 more minutes, before he tearfully asked his manager to substitute him in what was possibly the biggest game of his career. He was soon replaced by Quaresma, with Nani given the captain’s armband.
Portugal continued to defend with their lives, with Rui Patricio making some crucial saves to deny the hosts a lead. Blaise Matuidi and Antoine Griezmann came close to scoring, and Gignac in the dying stages of the game hit the post, but in the end, the game stayed goalless and went in to extra time.
The first half was again dominated by the French, but Portugal got their breakthrough five minutes into the second half when Eder struck a shot from almost 25 meters out to get the ball past Hugo Lloris’ extended arm, as the entire stadium erupted.
The lead was then threatened by more desperate attempts from France, but Portugal held on with their lives, and were finally paid for their patience as the referee blew the full time whistle.
This victory ended France’s winning streak in the last 10 competitive games against Portugal. Pepe was awarded the Man of the Match award for his rock solid performance at the back.