Portugal stuns France to win Euro 2016 final
Cinzia Rizzi, euronews: Welcome back to Euro 2016. The month-long football extravaganza came to a close on Sunday as Portugal outsmarted the hosts France in Paris. Now joining me is Bruno Sousa, our Sports team Portuguese journalist here at euronews. Hi Bruno, let’s cut to the chase: what does this rather unexpected trophy mean to you and your country?
Bruno Sousa: Well, if you take a look at all the celebrations which took place in Portugal and all over the world, that shows you how important this title was for our country. It was a hard-fought win and our national team went through some rough patches during the competition. We could even say that to some extent, the tournament reflects the country on a social and economic level. Portuguese people have been through a lot lately. Our players showed great resilience in the final and were made to battle hard throughout the competition. Nothing was easy but in the end they prevailed and so many people flooded the streets to celebrate their win. In Portugal, we all remember this 2004 final against Greece. After that defeat, I never thought I would have the opportunity to see my country win a major tournament. That’s what a lot of people thought but these players proved us wrong and it was incredible to see them do this against the hosts at the Stade de France.
Cinzia Rizzi, euronews: “National teams will soon be bidding to qualify for Russia 2018. Do you think Portugal are now genuine contenders to win the next World Cup?”
Bruno Sousa: Maybe we can have another good run but it will be hard to repeat this performance. I’m not saying that I will never see Portugal winning a major trophy again but I think it will be even harder in Russia. More teams will be involved, our opponents will be tougher and our players are getting older. A lot of them are in their thirties and it might hard for them to maintain this level. Look at Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Alves and Jose Fonte for example. It will be hard to win in Russia because at the moment, these players are essential and it’s hard to see who will replace them. I hope we’ll start seeing new stars in the coming months. We have options in midfield and our future is looking bright in this part of the pitch. So it’s not all doom and gloom but we need to rejuvenate our team. A more realistic goal would be to do well in the 2017 Confederations Cup. This tournament is also taking place in Russia.
You all can be mad at Portugal and fans of Portugal, but Portugal made history and you can't do anything with it 😉 pic.twitter.com/7vqk40EExl— CRISTIANO (@crronaaldo) 10 July 2016
Wales proved that 2016 was the year of the underdog with a stunning victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals. Their emphatic 3-1 victory against a side ranked second in the world was the greatest result in Welsh football history.
Aron Gunnarsson’s team-mates also made the headlines as they pulled off the biggest shock of the tournament against England in their round of 16 clash. Iceland, with a population of just 330,000, produced a series of astonishing displays to reach the tournament’s last eight, just like Hungary. Bernd Storck’s men, appearing in a major tournament for the first time in 30 years, topped the group with seven points before losing to Belgium in the knockout phase.
UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) 7 July 2016
Defending champions Spain came into the tournament hoping to re-establish their status as the game’s dominant power but it wasn’t to be as they were unable to trouble Italy in the knockout phase.
La Roja were second best from the start and their 2-0 loss could well have signalled the end of an era for players who used to make other sides chase shadows as they passed the ball around them.
England never dominated the modern game like Spain but their fans didn’t expect them to lose to underdogs Iceland.
Although the football pedigrees of the two countries could not be more different, Iceland looked the better team in just about every aspect of the game and fully deserved to extend their dream run on their first tournament appearance.
France came so close
When the final whistle went in Paris, the disappointment of France’s loss to Portugal could be felt among their fans but coach Didier Deschamps has probably built a side ready to contend for the World Cup.
Having come into the tournament with few pundits expecting them to go beyond the semi-finals, let alone defeat Germany for the first time in a competitive game in 58 years, Antoine Griezmann’s team-mates managed to exceed expectations and lay solid foundations.
The Atlético Madrid forward has been named Player of the Tournament by UEFA’s team of technical observers after finishing the competition with six goals and two assists.
Euro 2016 has been a tournament of great moments. Who could forget the Italians, who were guilty of some of the worst penalties at a shootout in major tournament history, England and Russian fans clashing in Marseille or even Cristiano Ronaldo’s tears in the final? For me the most memorable moment of the tournament has to be the way Ireland and Iceland fans supported their teams during the Euro.
Our Euro 2016 adventure is finally over. A big thank you to all those who worked behind the scenes and of course none of this would have been possible without the ‘Sports team’. Thank you for watching and make sure you join us again in August. We’ll be back from our well deserved holidays and ready to resume our weekly European football roundup. See you soon!
FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) 10 July 2016