Euro 2016 Player of the Day: Pepe (Portugal)

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Pepe.

A world class performance from the Portugal defender who has now won the Champions League and European Championship in one season.

His refusal to yield all evening epitomised the resilience of this Portuguese side. Yes, he is hardly the most popular player on the planet, but he is arguably one of its best defenders.

A career defining game for the Real Madrid man, who was completely dependable and utterly solid when he needed to be.

Quite simply, he’s been an animal throughout this entire tournament and a lot of the plaudits should be directed to him.

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Can Portugal win Euro 2016 without Ronaldo?

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Ronaldo.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was forced off injured in tears just 25 minutes into Sunday’s Euro 2016 final against France in Paris.

The Real Madrid forward had attempted to play on with a heavily bandaged knee after hurting himself in an eighth-minute collision with France’s Dimitri Payet.

But after one accelerating midway through the first half Ronaldo signalled to the bench that he could not carry on and could not hide his despair as he was replaced by Ricardo Quaresma with the game still goalless.

Have your say below whether you think Portugal can still win Euro 2016 without their star man?

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France vs Portugal: Three previous meetings between the Euro 2016 finalists

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France have gotten the better of Portugal in the past

France and Portugal battle it out in the Euro 2016 final in Paris, on Sunday.

The two sides have had some closely contested encounters at the business end of major international tournaments before as well with the French coming out on top.

Here, we look at three previous meetings between France and Portugal.

FRANCE 1-0 PORTUGAL: WORLD CUP 2006, SEMI-FINAL

Munich was the stage for a game lacking quality, which was decided via a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the 33rd minute. Ricardo Carvalho was penalised for tripping Thierry Henry (above) in the box and Zidane made no mistake from the spot.

There was no rousing comeback from the Portuguese, who came closest through Luis Figo and Deco, with the former heading over after Fabian Barthez had pushed a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick straight back into play.

France held on to win a forgettable match but this time they could not follow up victory over Portugal with success in the final as Italy would gain revenge from their final defeat six years earlier, beating Les Bleus in a penalty shootout.

FRANCE 2-1 PORTUGAL: EURO 2000, SEMI-FINAL

Nuno Gomes had scored a stunning volley to put A Selecao in front, only for Henry’s deflected effort to draw France level early in the second half. Henry would come close to finding a winner, as would Portugal’s Abel Xavier, but the game was taken into extra-time.

Controversy followed as Xavier blocked a Sylvain Wiltord cross, with the assistant referee flagging to signify he had given a penalty for handball against the Everton man. Gomes was sent off for his protestations, with bans dished out to the striker, as well as Xavier and Paulo Bento, following a fracas after the decision – although Zidane kept his cool to slot home the spot-kick and send France to the final, where they beat Italy 2-1.

FRANCE 3-2 PORTUGAL: EURO 1984, SEMI-FINAL

The Stade Velodrome in Marseille was the venue for a most memorable semi-final meeting – with the hosts eventually running out winners thanks to captain Michel Platini.

The France skipper played a part in Jean-Francois Domergue’s opener and was involved in a personal battle with Portugal goalkeeper Bento.

Jordao equalised for Portugal to take the game into extra-time and the Sporting forward would give the outsiders the edge by adding his second after 98 minutes. But, with just six minutes of extra-time remaining, Domergue levelled and Platini scored a memorable winner in the dying stages before leading France to victory over Spain in the final.

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