What they said: Reaction as Portugal win Euro 2016

Chrisa 11/07/2016
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Wiiners: Cristiano Ronaldo leads the celebrations.

Fernando Santos, Portugal head coach:

“I’ve always said we’re a team. I never hide my thoughts – I always tell my players what’s on my mind.

“I’ve always told them we’ve got great talent but we need to fight more than our opponents, run more than them and be more concentrated than them. We have an amazing group. They’ve always believed what I told them: that we could win this.

“Our skipper [Cristiano Ronaldo] put in an immense effort. He has amazing team spirit. Twice he tried to get back on the pitch but him being there in the dressing room and on the bench was very important for us. He believed – just like myself – that tonight was our night.

“When [Eder] came on he told me he would score. The ugly duckling went and scored. Now he’s a beautiful swan.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal captain:

“I am very happy. I have been looking for this for a long time, since 2004. I asked God for another chance at this because we deserved it. Today I was unfortunate, I was injured but I always believed that these players, together with the strategy, would be strong enough to beat France.

“This is one of the happiest moments in my career, I always said I’d like to win something with Portugal.”

Pepe, Portugal defender:

“It was tough to lose our main man, the man who could at any moment score a goal. We said we would win it for him and we managed to do that.

“He could make the difference but we were warriors on the pitch. There was a lot of suffering, it was a very intense game.”

Eder, Portugal goalscorer:

“Cristiano told me I would score the winning goal. He gave me strength and positive energy. A lot of hard work went into it.

“With the injury to Ronaldo, we went through a tough time because he’s very important for us but he gave us all his courage and his strength. We were able to win it for him and all the Portuguese people.”

Didier Deschamps, France head coach:

“Of course the overriding emotion is of huge disappointment. It’s cruel to lose the final like that. You have to accept it, I congratulate Portugal – they are the newly-crowned champions.

“Clearly we had our chances and had the last opportunity (of normal time) with Andre-Pierre Gignac striking the post in stoppage time.

“We weren’t clinical enough, we weren’t cool-headed enough. Perhaps we also lacked a bit of freshness. Although I’ve got nothing that I can hold against my players, they gave absolutely everything tonight.

“It really came down to very fine margins. But unfortunately we lacked what was essential. It’s very hard, it’s cruel but we have to accept it, and we’ll have to digest this, all of us.”

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#360view: Griezmann's brilliant year ends in disappointment

Mark Lomas 11/07/2016
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Antoine Griezmann.

For the second time in as many months, an anguished Antoine Griezmann watched on ruefully as Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe were crowned champions of Europe.

Both defeats were heartbreaking. In May, a penalty shootout loss handed Real Madrid the Champions League; in July, it was Eder playing the extra-time hero for Portugal at Euro 2016.

That was a role supposed to be played by Griezmann. With Cristiano Ronaldo departing in the early stages to injury, the Frenchman should have been the chief protagonist in this tale of two No. 7s.

“He’s not very tall, but he’s very good at figuring out where the ball might be,” Pepe had said ahead of the game, a somewhat back-handed compliment.

Griezmann certainly had opportunities to demonstrate that ability in Paris. It is an ability that has brought six goals at Euro 2016. The electric pace, the intelligent movement and the aerial prowess were all there in Paris. But the previously sublime finishing was notable by its absence.

France had previously relied on their No. 10s to down Portugal; Michel Platini did the damage in 1984, while Zinedine Zidane stepped in with decisive strikes at Euro 2000 and the 2006 World Cup. This time, it was expected the No. 7 would be their saviour.

It had looked possible when Griezmann sprung spectacularly in the first half, but Rui Patricio produced a fine save to deny him, the goalbound header palmed away. On the ground he fared little better, crashing an effort into the side-netting and later skimming a low effort straight into the Portugal goalkeeper’s arms.

It was in the second-half, though, that Griezmann’s match-winning moment really came and went. Rising again unmarked in the box, he headed Kingsley Coman’s cross over the bar with the goal at his mercy. The Stade de France crowd rose to their feet, disbelieving that their new poster boy had misfired.

It was left to a player who will be plying his trade in nearby Lille next season to show the sort of clinical approach in front of goal that was needed to break the deadlock in a major final. Eder having his Angelo Charisteas moment, denying the much-fancied hosts just as Greece had done Portugal themselves at Euro 2004.

For Griezmann, an outstanding tournament ends in bitter disappointment. In 2010 he had helped fired France to Under-19 European Championship glory, this time though he fell short.

He may finish Euro 2016 as top scorer but he is not a champion; the Golden Boot will be scant consolation. The front page of Le Monde had read ‘Generation Griezmann’ ahead of the final. While that may still prove to be true, and significant silverware surely awaits this talented player, Monday morning will see the Portuguese celebrating the ‘Era of Eder’.

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Eder scores winner as Portugal win Euro 2016

Sport360 staff 11/07/2016
Portugal won their first major trophy in Paris.

Wednesday’s clash with Wales represented a seventh major tournament semi-final but brought with it progress for just the second time, 12 years on from the ignominy of falling to Greece at the end of the European Championship they hosted.

The roles reversed at the Stade de France as the underdogs ploughed on after Ronaldo’s first-half injury, making amends for the humiliation of 2004 by winning their first ever major trophy as Eder secured a 1-0 win.

The substitute struck the historic blow after 109 minutes, beating Hugo Lloris from distance as Swansea fans rubbed their eyes in disbelief given his underwhelming time in Wales.

This final was a fitting an end to Euro 2016 – a cagey tournament punctuated by moments of magic.

Top scorer Antoine Griezmann twice came close to producing his own during the 90 minutes and substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac saw a stoppage-time effort hit the post after Ricardo Quaresma tested Lloris with an acrobatic strike.

Portugal upped the ante in extra-time and Raphael Guerreiro’s free-kick rattled the crossbar, before Eder’s moment of magic.

Holding off Laurent Koscielny, the substitute made room to get away a low effort from 25 yards out that saw Fernando Santos’ hard-working side make history.

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