Yesterday the Portuguese team made their debut in the Eurocup, with a deceptive victory against Hungary (3-0). Misleading because the result is more bulky with respect to equality that was seen in the field, but of course if you have Cristiano Ronaldo… A Portugal that is the current champion of the tournament, and for that he had to do all this in France 2016:
The truth is that the Portuguese were very lucky in the group stage. They were up against fairly affordable rivals, and they couldn’t get past the draw against either of them. In the debut they were surprised by Iceland (1-1), then they were not able to score against Austria (0-0) and on the last day they were ‘saved’ in a crazy match against Hungary precisely, and also with a double from Cristiano Ronaldo ( 3-3). They passed as one of the top 4 third picks to the eighth.
In the round of 16 they faced off against Croatia by Modric and company, who had surprised the Spanish group and finished first. In a not very showy and nerve-racking game, a goal near the end of Nani’s extra time gave the Portuguese a pass to the quarterfinals when everything suggested that victory would be played on penalties.
A new tie. This time the one they took against Poland, who had Lewandowski as his great weapon. The Bayern forward himself was the one who put his team ahead as soon as he started, but a goal from Renato Sanches after half an hour put the tables. At that time he was only 18 years old and he was one of the sensations of the tournament. On penalties all the Portuguese scored and Blaszczykowski missed his. The decisive goal for Fernando Santos’ men was made by Nani.
The one from Wales was the only one of the 7 games that Portugal played in the last European Championship and won during the 90 minutes. There was expectation to see a debutant like the British team and especially for the duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale, when he was still teammates at Real Madrid. Cristiano precisely opened the can shortly after the break, and almost immediately afterwards Nani sentenced the duel and gave his team a pass to the final.
It was the icing on the cake for Fernando Santos and his family. Portugal faced the local team and great favorite, Griezmann’s France. The game was twisted from the start with Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury, but that only made the victory more epic. In a disputed match, Éder’s historic goal in extra time made the bench jump and gave the neighboring country the title. It was a ‘poetic’ revenge for them after seeing how in 2004 Greece had won ‘their’ Eurocup in the final (1-0).