Portugal stuns France with late Eder strike in Euro final

Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:59pm EDT
 
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By Toby Davis

PARIS (Reuters) - Portugal found an unlikely hero as Eder's thunderous finish deep into extra time secured their first European Championship title after they overcame the early loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to snatch a 1-0 victory over hosts France on Sunday.

The substitute picked the perfect time to score his first competitive goal for his country, marauding forward before letting fly with a bullet shot from 25 meters in the 109th minute.

It was a magic moment for the 28-year-old, who plays for French club Lille after a largely unglamorous career, and a cruel blow for France and their coach Didier Deschamps.

His side had dominated the match, but squandered a number of chances, in front of their devastated home support, who arrived at the Stade de France hoping to celebrate a third European crown.

The trophy was lifted triumphantly by Portugal captain Ronaldo, who broke down in tears at the final whistle after his own game had come to a frustrating end after 24 minutes when he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher with a knee injury.

The script had been written for him to produce a performance to match his status as one of the game's greats, but he had to settle for a back-stage role after Dimitri Payet's challenge left him in a heap on the floor.

So much of the build-up had focused on Ronaldo and his hopes of crowning a glittering career with the only achievement missing from his CV, a piece of international silverware.

That was achieved, but, with Eder stealing the limelight and his own role reduced to that of a cajoling cheerleader, it was probably not how Ronaldo would have envisaged his evening panning out.   Continued...

 
Football Soccer - Portugal v France - EURO 2016 - Final - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 10/7/16
Portugal celebrates with the trophy after winning Euro 2016
REUTERS/Darren Staples
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