Portugal became the Champions of Europe upon defeating France in the Euro 2016 Final against all odds!
Online sportsbooks in Portugal and all over the world as well have expected the hosting nation, France, to win the Euro 2016 Final. There were way too many reasons why they were regarded as the favourites and just a few that supported Portugal. However, the random events and unexpected victories in football can never be predicted.
Portugal went to the finals without one single defeat
Not many would have placed their bets on Portugal because the team lead by Cristiano Ronaldo was source for many criticism. They weren’t performing at all too convincing and have won only 1 games in 90 minutes. That was the second most important one, however: the semi-finals against Wales, which they won by 2-0.
Before the semi-finals, they weren’t an outstanding team of the tournament and everyone thought they will be knocked out eventually. They hardly qualified from their group which was won by Hungary. Failed to win a single game, tying all 3 and almost losing to Hungary in the third round but the best match at Euro 2016 ended with a 3-3 draw.
Should they have lost the game, they would have been out of the competition and wouldn’t even have reached the Euro 2016 Round of 16. However, the draw allowed them to qualify on the third place which gave them Poland whom they beat on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The opponent in the Quarter-Finals were Croatia which was also about to be decided by a shootout, but Quaresma scored in the 117th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the key to an unexpected victory
This was Portugal’s road to Euro 2016 final as the 2-0 victory over Wales allowed them to play the very last game of the tournament on the 10th of July. As mentioned before, all online sportsbooks expected to see France winning the title. And the gaem didn’t start all too well for Portugal: their most important member in the squad, Cristiano Ronaldo, had to be substituted early in the first half thanks to a horrible tackle by Payet.
CR7 might be out for 4-5 months according to the first reports. He tried to come back but his pain did not allow him to do so. His departure of the field was one of the saddest moments in football history as it was probably the most important game in the life of one of the best football players ever. And he had to quit in 20 minutes.
However, leaving the field doesn’t stop such a world class player from continuing to support his team. Cristiano Ronaldo was the most excited players, he was much more passionate than his coach or anyone else in the world. He kept motivating his mates all along. In fact, Cedric Soares said that it was Cristiano Ronaldo who won the game: he gave a speech in the locker room at half time for which they all believed that they will be able to win this game.
And they were. Éder scored from far away in the very last minute, just before the game was going to a penalty shootout. Portugal won the trophy and reached something amazing that nobody ever before have won in Portugal: won a major continental tournament. Figo, Rui Costa, Deco, these are they players who lost in 2004…
History repeats itself – with Portugal being on the other side this time
Many of those who frequently bet on sports in Portugal, have talked about the similarities between the Euro 2004 winner Greek national team and the Euro 2016 finalist Portuguese national team. Both of these teams were regarded as underdogs in the beginning of the tournament and also in the meantime everybody kept looking down on them.
They – we – all though that these players are doing kind of a miracle but a better team will eventually knock them out. Those better teams, however, never have arrived. Greece played the final in 2004 against the hosting nation Portugal, whose squad was full of world class football players and were playing terrific games during the tournament. But Greece won.
Something similar happened this year as well: France was the hosting nation, full of world class football stars like Pogba, Griezmann and Giroud. They were pretty convincing as well. However, it was not enough. Portugal had something more and that was probably the passion that we could have seen in Cristiano Ronaldo even after he went off. Portugal defeated France and lifted the trophy.