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’.