Ronaldo Watches Portugal Win the EuroCup
The Year of the Underdog continues.
Powerhouse France, playing at home, looked to be in prime position to win their third European Cup. Only one more opponent needed to be conquered:
FIFA's 8th-ranked Portuguese.
Given that those recently-cleansed poobahs have Les Bleus at No 17 as of their 2 Jun 2016 listings, it could've well been considered a tall order.
Still, France disposed of the Germans, albeit barely.
And they did have form and history on their side:
- Les Bleus had been on a 16-0-2 run at home in major tournament matches at home, and
- They were 18-5-1 all time against A Seleção, and 10-0-0 since 1978.
No wonder they were considered favorites.
By the 23rd minute of the championship match, France was probably considered to be the overwhelming favorites:
The only player ever to score in four European Championship tourneys tried to continue, but to no avail.
Dude had done his bit, though, with a semi-final performance that put Portugal in its second-ever final. Now it was up to others to hold down the fort until opportunity knocked.
However, the first knuckles were on la porte, but Antoine Griezmann didn't get there in time:
Portugal did mount a counter, but the chance came more from French 'keeper Hugo Lloris:
Then came the offsetting woodwork smackers:
This one came in the 19th minute of extra time:
And on it went into extra time.
That's when Éder stepped up with the goal of his life:
No could be; it was.
Ronaldo was 18 when he played in Portugal's only other EuroCup final. He'll be 35 when the next one rolls around in 2020 and will be played in venues across the entirety of Europe.
If he's still got his shot, he'll surely get a shot.
But that's then. This is now. Portugal is the champion of Europe.