The hosts and favourites France had the chance to bring the European Championships crown back again as they took on Portugal at Stade de France in St Denis.

The Portuguese may have conquered Wales in the semi-finals but they had been singularly unimpressive before that, managing to progress to the last four without having won a game inside 90 minutes.

France, on the other hand, had only settled and strengthened as the tournament has progressed, with stars like Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann now hitting their stride at the right time.

A dull final, not helped by the departure through injury of teary Cristiano Ronaldo, was eventually won in extra time by a well-struck effort from Swansea flop Eder, crushing French dreams and crowning the Portuguese as unlikely winners.


Reader Comments (42)

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Shane Corcoran
2 Posted 10/07/2016 at 12:11:42
Ended 0-0 and as there was no such thing as a penalty shootout it was shared.

The fans stood side-by-side and somehow managed not to fight with each other.

Everyone went home happy.

David Hallwood
3 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:15:27
Does anybody else think that Greizman looks and runs like del
James Stewart
4 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:16:23
Worst final ever.
Brent Stephens
5 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:19:35
Go Portugal. Boring game. Great strike.
Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:22:49
Goal! Portugal seem ordinary, but they are so organised. The fact that they can all play, has kept them in the game for so long. But can they hold on?
Martin Nicholls
7 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:45:45
Clattenburg sees a black hand on ball so books Koscielny - typical cock up by him but Danny Murphy "can understand how he got it wrong". Really??
Martin Mason
8 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:52:32
As soon as I saw Ronaldo and Nani being targeted by the French thugs I was neutral. The attack on Ronaldo's knee was premeditated and from then on I only wanted Portugal to win which they did easily. Two very poor sides in a very poor competition.
Brin Williams
9 Posted 10/07/2016 at 22:58:31
So... Semi-finalists Wales eventually knocked out by the the Winners – not bad for a small nation!
Shane Corcoran
10 Posted 10/07/2016 at 23:02:57
Martin, I'll raise you Pepe in any argument over wanting Portugal to win.
Colin Glassar
11 Posted 10/07/2016 at 23:07:16
Fantastic win for Portugal. For such a small country (pop. 10m) they have provided us with some of the worlds greatest players eg Eusebio, Figo, Ronaldo and Nuno Valente. Oh, and our very own Joao Moutinho. Vamhos Portugal!!!
Anthony Hanlon
12 Posted 10/07/2016 at 23:21:25
Martinez has just criticised Portugal for negative football 2 mins after lifting trophy. What a manager!
David Barks
13 Posted 10/07/2016 at 23:27:20
To be fair, everyone has been criticizing them for the manner in which they've played in this tournament. Martinez wasn't alone, just probably the last person who should ever have his opinion be taken seriously. But in this case, he's in the majority.
Oliver Molloy
14 Posted 10/07/2016 at 23:27:25
Anthony,

I doubt Martinez will ever work in the Premier League again, such is the absolute nonsense he speaks. The man is deluded.

Dave Bowen
15 Posted 10/07/2016 at 23:29:46
Martin @ 8. Speaking as a gutted Welshman, I wish one of the Wales players had done that to Ronaldo in the semi. He wouldn't have been able to jump for the ball for their 1st goal. It's part of the game.
William Cartwright
16 Posted 11/07/2016 at 02:37:00
Oliver,

Outside of spouting off utter tripe in the media, I doubt if Martinez will ever work in football again. He may be employed somewhere under false pretences but will he ever work in the true sense of the word? Never. An utter pillock.

Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 11/07/2016 at 05:01:41
The exploits of Iceland and Wales aside, it was a very poor tournament with little excitement or innovation. If the "sit back and counter-attack" style is the future of football, then we'd best make sure there's plenty left in the bank account when the bubble bursts.
Nathan Cross
18 Posted 11/07/2016 at 05:42:03
The sooner international footy is abolished, the better... It brings out the worst sort of nationalism, and even worse than that, it's boring...
Colin Glassar
19 Posted 11/07/2016 at 10:37:38
I bet you wouldn't say that if your team won it, Nathan. Watching the Welsh, French, Italians etc... sing their anthems with gusto isn't just mindless nationalism – it's about being proud of your country.
Shane Corcoran
20 Posted 11/07/2016 at 11:07:13
Nathan, it brought joy to a lot of football people that wouldn't otherwise have savoured it.

It brought fans from all over the continent together on the streets of France with very little problems.

It put the best footballers of the continent playing on team that the have some affiliation with and playing with players that they can identity with.

On the other hand, you have the Premier League with its obscene amount of money, badge-kissing foreign players, segregated abuse-throwing fans.

Now that I think of it, you're probably having a laugh, yeah?

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 11/07/2016 at 11:24:37
Shane (#20), the competition did everything you said it did but there were twice as many boring games as there were good ones, including most parts of the final.
Bill Griffiths
22 Posted 11/07/2016 at 11:29:25
You need your eyes testing, Martin; it was a fair tackle on Ronaldo.
Gerry Quinn
23 Posted 11/07/2016 at 11:32:58
Ironic isn't it? Payet puts Ronaldo out of action deliberately hitting his knee. Somehow I bet the West Ham management, board, etc., do not bleat on about it like they did with McCarthy's tackle on Payet!
Tom Bowers
24 Posted 11/07/2016 at 11:58:32
It was a hard but fair tackle on Ronaldo and Payet got the ball but these tackles Ronaldo has been taking all his life. The difference is that now it's harder for his body to take. He cannot jump back up like he was when he was an 18-year-old.

I disagree with Alan Thompson and have to say the tournament was pretty good. I never expected England to do anything other than what they did and there were some great goals, especially Shaqiri's.

France were expected to reach the final but Portugal rose to the occasion and, despite only winning one game inside 90 minutes, showed they had the right blend of youth, experience and coaching to come out on top.

Shane Corcoran
25 Posted 11/07/2016 at 12:37:58
Dave, that may be so but at international level you can only play with what's available to you and so managers have to find ways of winning.

It mightn't be great for the neutrals but it's great for those involved.

Football is summed up perfectly by the French fans booing every touch Ronaldo had, booing him getting injured, booing him coming back on but then applauding him when he goes off on the stretcher.

Paul Andrews
26 Posted 11/07/2016 at 13:57:32
Very disappointing tournament. A fair amount of poor games, the preferred playing style of a few managers made for boring games. When a team set up to counter-attack meets another set up the same way, it ruins the game.

Romelu cost me a decent bet but I'm still up overall on the tournament.

Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 11/07/2016 at 14:08:10
Shane, fair enough, but I'm talking about a spectator's point of view. Is it not right that we still expect to be entertained? For the winning team, they will be thrilled and excited they have won the tournament; what about the rest of Europe and other parts of the world? I wouldn't mind betting that lots of games were turned off by television fans in their droves.

There has to be more for the majority of TV watchers than just winning – and for the game of football itself.

Shane Corcoran
29 Posted 11/07/2016 at 14:45:00
Dave, that is also fair enough. It depends what entertains you.

I'm in the minority it seems in that I can enjoy watching a tactical defensive game. A lot of people seem to want to see goals, goals, goals and care about little else. To those I say "watch the highlights show". I'm not saying you're in that bracket but I quite enjoyed the tournament although I admit the day of the quality attacking player is dying.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 11/07/2016 at 14:59:14
Well, Shane, I think it is a case of "one man's meat is another man's poison". They won the cup but, along with the majority of teams in the competition, I doubt they impressed or entertained a big proportion of the watching fans.

I could never stop watching football and Everton especially but a lot of new fans might start wondering what all the fuss is about, the way the game is being played.

Ray Robinson
31 Posted 11/07/2016 at 15:31:41
The problem with international football these days is that players of all continents have intermingled through the transfer markets and styles have melded to such an extent that there are no individual "patterns of play" anymore. Is there such a thing as Brazilian flair anymore? Mass TV coverage, replay scrutiny, and cross-fertilisation of coaching has just led to uniformity across the board.

About 15 years ago, my son spent 6 months at the academy and even then you could see that individuality was being coached out of the youngsters in the interest of possession and a team pattern of play. When the street footballers such as Rooney, Messi, Tevez etc hang up their boots, expect to see even more games where matches are won on the basis of tactics and substitutions.

Of course, tight matches may always be won on the basis of individual moments of brilliance but there will be fewer and fewer players able to effect such moments.

I'm afraid football is becoming more and more like a chess game. Matches do still come alive in the second half as tiredness sets in but greater athleticism and stamina will stifle even that.

Solution? Open the pitch up by reducing the game to ten a side. The game has moved on from average height 5'-9" players who struggled to maintain fitness. Open up space on the pitch and we may see a more entertaining spectacle.

Shane Corcoran
32 Posted 11/07/2016 at 16:04:04
Interesting view Ray. You sound almost exactly like what Eamon Dunphy has sounded like for quite a while and very recently. Just google Dunphy Soccer Is Dead.

I'd have to agree with what both you and Dave are saying but I guess I don't feel the need for the star player as much as some. I think there's something great about the underdog with less talent winning through pure hard work.

Ray Robinson
33 Posted 11/07/2016 at 16:09:41
I will look that up, Shane, thanks. I agree with you about supporting the underdog in individual matches. It's just there are so many samey teams around at the moment.

Just like punk shook up music in the '70s, we need a Wimbledon-type approach or (something like it) to shake up the sterile approach to the game adopted by most coaches.

Thomas Lennon
34 Posted 11/07/2016 at 16:26:46
Must admit I only watched a few games. As soon as I saw possession play in a team's own half while the opposition fell back coupled with 'spoiling' defending – crowding, cutting out passes, blocking what few shots there were from outside the box it all got very dull very quickly.

Are defenders & is defending winning over attackers & attacking?

Several times we saw an attacking player on the 18-yard line with his back to goal pass backwards – when there was no-one behind him! One Cruyff turn in the whole tournament, and that was from a Championship player!

Brin Williams
35 Posted 11/07/2016 at 16:30:59
Can I throw in my six penneth?

A rather disappointing tournament it may have been for some – the football was not great for some and the early trip home was not planned for by some.

For others, this competition fulfilled the dreams of a Nation, it showed how teamwork can overcome individualism and it showed that one should never underestimate an underdog.

It showed that you don't have to be a Bale, Ronaldo, Pogba to win the goal of the tournament, in fact you don't really have to belong to any team apart from the one you are playing for in the tournament.

But what this tournament has done is put the little people firmly on the map: Iceland and Wales have had more publicity than money could ever buy and it is time now to build upon this success and show the world that the British Isleas is not just about England – there are others including the two Irish, Scots and the mighty Welsh to contend with from now on.

The Dragon has roared!

Colin Glassar
36 Posted 11/07/2016 at 16:48:24
I actually enjoy the tactical side of the game. The Portuguese strategy yesterday was brilliant. It may not be easy on the eye but it's very clever and effective, a bit like the old cattenacio the Italians used to play.
Ray Robinson
37 Posted 11/07/2016 at 16:58:02
Yes, Colin, but watching a game as a football enthusiast as you obviously are (me too), is different than watching as a non-enthusiast waiting for an excuse to be smitten by the bug. As Brin rightly pointed out, the contest was certainly not without its merits.

The highlight for me, even as an Englishman, was Wales's wonderful performance against Belgium. But there weren't enough classic or even good matches like that to hook the next generation of football fanatics.

Atmospheres at Premier League matches are generally poor these days because the average football match (particularly in the first half) is being stifled by concede-nothing, possession at all costs, chess-like tactics.

Patrick Murphy
38 Posted 11/07/2016 at 17:21:51
Shane (#32),

Watching the underdog with less talent winning through pure hard work is fine in the FA Cup or some other domestic competition but the cream of football talent should be on show in these prestigious international tournaments.

It's not the format that's to blame. as some have argued in the media, or the smaller less-experienced countries taking part; it's the mindset of the managers and players across the world. I watched Argentina v Chile in the final of the Copa America last month and that match was even duller than yesterday's game – and that takes some doing.

The modern world seems to dislike losing so much that nobody, team, manager or player is prepared to gamble on actually winning a football match in style.

Flip a coin at the start of the game to decide the winners and we could all save oodles of time and money as far as international football goes and it would on the whole be a lot more fun than some of the rubbish that has been on display in Euro 2016.

I hope Everton's upcoming Premier League campaign is a lot more entertaining than most of the Euro 2016 tournament has been.

Shane Corcoran
39 Posted 11/07/2016 at 19:20:40
Patrick, I agree with your second and third paragraphs. However, I don't understand your point about the FA Cup. The cream can be beaten – that is my point and it's great to see it when they are.

I also don't see how flipping a coin would be much fun. I didn't see the Copa America but nothing I saw at the Euros bothered me that much, although I admit there were few memorable moments outside the lesser nations' success.

I was in the Stade de France and the stadium in Lille so I know I'm biased.

Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 11/07/2016 at 19:21:47
Really interesting thread, with some very good points being made. I started watching The World Cup in 1978 when I was 8 years old. I was too young to be really aware of greatness then, although Mario Kempes, and The Argentinians left a lasting memory.

1982 Spain, was my favourite ever World Cup, because it's the only tournament I've ever witnessed with two standout games: Italy 3-2 Brazil, and the Germany-France 3-3 semi-final.

I might be wrong but I feel these tournaments are usually the same with organisation and strength generally cancelling out most of the skillful teams by the end.

Shane went to France and had a ball, so I think he can relate better than most, why these tournaments can be so great for the fans. Especially the ones who are lucky enough to experience the atmosphere whilst having a few beers and a laugh!

Tony Abrahams
41 Posted 11/07/2016 at 19:32:25
Patrick, remember the Golden Goal, which was supposed to make teams go for it, if a game went to extra time? It soon became silver, before being done away with altogether, because of all the reasons, you and a couple of others have mentioned, already in this thread.

Some teams will always be scared to lose, whilst other teams, always seem scared to win. Let's hope Ronald Koeman, can really change the mindset of our team, because I think we've been in both of those brackets for way too long now!

Paul Conway
42 Posted 12/07/2016 at 08:29:02
How many players would you see jumping around the technical area (after being stretchered off!), without getting a yellow card? The technical area is for coaches only.
Alan J Thompson
43 Posted 13/07/2016 at 13:48:00
I take it that passing the ball back direct from the kick off is now adopted by all levels of football. Almost seems ominous.
Terry Underwood
44 Posted 14/07/2016 at 10:10:22
It used to be that one team would play a defensive game and the other team would need to break them down. Now, with both team playing defensively, the spectacle is somewhat lacking. It seems that some players develop nosebleeds if they cross the halfway line.

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