The moment when Éder became the unexpected hero of a nation that had waited 12 years to fulfil its destiny, marks the greatest achievement of the team coached by Fernando Santos and captained by Cristiano Ronaldo.
This story is no less than a mix between Kusturica and Tarantino. The suspense, the passion, the action and the sweat displayed Cristiano, Nani, Quaresma, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho and the other stars gave them the throne in the football pantheon
Coming as the underdogs against a powerhouse of talent playing at home with magicians like Pogba, Mbapé, Griezmann and Lloris, Portugal´s tactics needed to be the same ones as during the Euro in France.
Solid defence, with two lines where midfielders first defend and then propel the attackers to fast-moving actions. This strategy was not working at its best in the first matches, with disappointing performances against Iceland, Austria and Hungary (super backheel goal by Cristiano).
When the knock-out stage came (mata-mata as they say in Portugal, popularised by Scolari), Portugal remained faithful to the script. Defend and attack fast and all move as a block.
The clash against powerful Croatia (runners up in the 2018 World Cup) was a fierce battle only sealed when Ricardo Quaresma snatched the goal in extra time. Moving on to the quarter-finals, Poland with the superstar Lewandovski was the victim. The Eagles started with a goal from the usual suspect but a beautiful backheel by Nani saw Renato Sanches reaching the equaliser. The match moved on to penalties and there the wall Rui Patricio and goal by Quaresma sealed the victory.
On to the final battle before the match at Stade de France, Portugal ended Wales (captained by Gareth Bale) fairytale with a classic super header by Cristiano and finalised with Nani´s goal.
The stage was set, everyone was expecting the blues to win. Playing at home with consecutive wins showing no room for discussion on their destiny to win the Euro. But, Portugal had other plans and even with Ronaldo´s injury after a clash with Payet, the team moved, fuelled by the unstoppable fans singing and cheering on the stands. There was a scent that glory was possible.
And then…the moment came. Éder blasts the net and the whole nation falls into tiers. This time of happiness and not like in 2004, this time Portugal won. As Ronaldo stated, this was the most important trophy of his career. As all of Portugal´s nation said: thank you to our warriors!
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