I’m just going to get this off my chest right now: As a French national team supporter, I’m gutted that they didn’t win this match. This was, on paper, meant to be a one-way dance, with France dominating everything from possession to the number of moths that inhabited the pitch at Parc des Princes in Paris. I’m also a Chelsea FC supporter, so the colour blue basically runs in my blood.
Much of what I saw in the first half of this game was France dominating Portugal’s defence, with some impressive trickery like nutmegs and Cruyff turns running amok. There were also lots of opportunities for France to hit the back of the net (Griezmann’s missed header the first that came to mind), but didn’t convert. It was a lot of possession-based football, which, unless your name is Louis van Gaal, is something that would bore anybody and their dog. Portugal did have some chances, but, like their opposition, found themselves unable to materialize and make the most of their opportunities. Oh, and Ronaldo got injured and had a moth on his face for the majority of the time he was down.
This was, in my opinion, the part of the match where the goalkeepers were the MVPs. Rui Patricio (Portugal) and Hugo Lloris (France) produced world-class saves that guys like Gigi Buffon and David de Gea would be proud of. But, like the first half, there really wasn’t much action.
I’ll never forget this part of the match, for I was sitting among a sea of Portuguese fans in a sports bar when Eder, of all people, scored the decisive goal. Being one of few French supporters, the moment was a hard pill to swallow. Many years on, we’ll look back at this moment and realize that Eder is to the 2016 Euros what Mario Gotze was to the 2014 World Cup; clutch, decisive, and perhaps, a bit lucky.
If there’s one person I feel super bad for, it’s Antoine Griezmann. I think he’s one of the best strikers for club and country, but having lost the Champions League final AND the finals of the Euros to Ronaldo is about as good as seeing a teacher you hate both in school and chatting with your mom in a supermarket.
By all accounts, this was a boring game (dare I say, one of the worst finals at a major tournament), but fair play to Portugal for winning this tournament. Even if Ronaldo didn’t do anything…
Until next time folks,