Recap (Highlights below): A goal from Eder 11 minutes from the end of extra time saw Portugal stun host France to win Euro 2016 and claim the country’s first ever senior international title. It was a most unlikely triumph for a team that only made it through the group phase in third place, won just one game inside 90 minutes throughout the tournament and which lost its talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, to injury, midway through the opening half.
Ronaldo exited the pitch, having twice tried to play on, in tears of agony and dejection. Twelve years after he was left devastated when as a 19-year-old he was part of the Portugal team upset in the final of Euro 2004 on home soil by Greece, the three-time Ballon d’OR winner was staring at the prospect of perhaps his last chance to win silverware with his country disappear.
This time, though, it was Portugal that played the role of Greece. Portugal may have more quality than the Greece side that stunningly won the trophy, but, under the guidance of coach Fernando Santos, it played in an almost identical fashion. The fact that it squeezed its way through the knockout rounds, going to extra time three times and penalties once, while playing a desperately cautious brand of football will not please many neutrals. Certainly it helped produce a desperately dull final to cap a tournament that has been short on thrills throughout.
But Portugal played to its system expertly. France, on the other hand, despite having by some distance the greater talent, didn’t seem to know what it was it was supposed to be doing to break down Portugal’s fierce resistance.
After beginning the match at a lightning tempo and going close when Antoine Griezmann’s header was tipped over by the first of many fine saves from Rui Patricio, France, and the final itself, fell into a slumber.
Ironically, the injury to Ronaldo appeared to slow France’s early momentum. And, while Griezmann missed a golden chance with his head in the second half and substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac hit the post in injury time at the end of regulation, France offered precious little going forward.
Griezmann faded after his miss, while the system of coach Didier Deschamps failed to get the best out of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Dimitri Payet. Only Moussa Sissoko and, when he came on early in the second half, Kingsley Coman, offered any attacking thrust.
As a result, Portugal grew increasingly comfortable in the match. And late on in regulation time, Portugal coach Santos made a key change that was just one of the many demonstrations of his greater tactical nous to his counterpart on the day. Breaking away from Portugal’s ultra negativity, he opted to bring a natural striker into the fray in Eder.
And the 28-year-old, who was shipped off on loan by mid-table Premier League side Swansea City last season and who had never scored a competitive goal for Portugal, ended up being the hero.
His hold-up play had already paid dividends for Portugal before he picked up the ball with his back to goal 35 yards out. After turning and shaking off the attention of Laurent Koscielny, Eder surged unchallenged toward the box before unleashing a low shot from 25 yards out that beat Hugo Lloris to his near post.
Everyone on the Portugal bench, including Ronaldo, who had been roaring encouragement to his team in the latter stages, leapt to their feet. There was no coming back for France. Portugal, the nearly men of of European football, with three losing semifinals and one final since 2000, had finally become a champion.
FULL TIME! France 0-1 Portugal
Portugal has won Euro 2016! Portugal is the unlikely champion and Eder the unlikely match winner. Ronaldo, who was in tears earlier after coming out of the game with injury, is now shedding tears of joy. Twelve years after he was left heartbroken when Portugal as host was upset by Greece, the tables have been turned and Ronaldo has finally won some siverware with his country.
122 mins: Last chance at the death for France, but Martial's shot is deflected behind.
120 mins: Two minutes of injury time for France to get a goal.
119 mins: Guerreiro can barely walk, but, with Portugal having used all its substitutions, he has to go back on.
116 mins: Guerreiro has gone down with cramp, not surprising with Portugal playing in extra time for the third time in this tournament. Meanwhile, Ronaldo is on his feet on the sidelines screaming and pointing at his watch. He's as desperate as everyone for the final minutes to tick away.
111 mins: Antony Martial has come on for Sissoko for France's final change.
Here's Eder's goal to perhaps win Euro 2016 for Portugal:
GOAL! France 0-1 Portugal (Eder, 109)
Incredible. Eder, the substitute may have just won the European Championship for Portugal and broken the hearts of the host nation with his first competitive goal for his country. The striker receives the ball and turns Koscielny 35 yards from goal and is allowed to move forard unchallenged toward the edge of the area before drilling a low shot that beat Lloris at his near post. France has 10 minutes to avoid one of the most painful defeats in its history.
108 mins: And it so nearly does do in! Guerreiro, getting a chance to strike a free-kick with Ronaldo off the pitch, curls it beautifully over the wall but it comes back off the underside of the crossbar.
107 mins: Koscielny earns a yellow card for handball right on the edge of the box, but the ball actucally hit Eder's hand. A free-kick in a dangerous position for Portugal and there will be some controversy if this goes in.
Portugal get extra time back underway
Halftime in extra time: France 0-0 Portugal
Still nothing to seprate these teams, and it was Portugal that went closest in that first period of extra time. Only 15 minutes left now before we get the penalty shootout that you have to think Portugal would have taken two hours ago.
104 mins: Lloris denies Eder! A Portugal corner comes in from the right and Eder rises highest at the back post to head down toward goal, but Lloris is able to bundle it to safety.
101 mins: After both underwhelming hugely so far in this final, Griezmann and Pogba try to make something happen in the Portugal box, but to no avail. This is the time that France really needs something special from its two star men.
98 mins: Eder is far from the most gifted striker in the world, but his physcial attributes are at least helping Portugal with a focal point to its attack. He's already won a few knock-ons and laid the ball off well. William Carvalho, meanwhile, has bcome the fourth Portugal player to get himself booked.
95 mins: Pepe heads inches wide from a free-kick to get the Portugal bench off their seats, but the assistant referee had correctly flagged for offside. Moments later Raphael Guerreiro joins Joao Mario, Cedric and Umtiti in getting a yellow card.
93 mins: While Portugal has used all three of its substitutions, France still has one remaining. Given France had a day's less rest, it's perhaps surprising that Deschamps hasn't made another change for the start of extra time. The energy of N'Golo Kante is one option, as is the pace in attack of Anthony Martial.
Extra time kicks off: France get the first period of extra time underway after a brief break in which Ronaldo came onto the pitch with a strapped left knee to try and spur his teammates onto victory in his absence.
Here's Gignac coming oh so close to winning it for France in injury time
End of 90 minutes: France 0-0 Portugal
After 90 largely uninspiring minutes, in which France failed to break down Portugal's stiff resistance, we're going to extra time.
90+2 mins: Gignac hits the post! From Coman's low cross to the near post, Gignac turns Pepe superbly in the box, but his scuffed shot came back off the inside of the near post. Inches away from winning the European Championship for France.
90 mins: Three minutes of injury time to find a winner before 30 minutes of extra time.
89 mins: Whistles now from the crowd at the Stade de France as France just stroke the ball around with the seconds ticking down before extra time, and even more tension, arrives.
86 mins: Gignac does well to roll Fonte and surge forward, but, with options awaiting in the box, the striker goes alone and drives a shot straight into a Portuguese defender. The Tigres man has not shown his best in his limited opportunities at Euro 2016. Now would be a great moment for him to deliver.
84 mins: What a hit from Sissoko! France's best player unleashes a thunderbolt from 25 yards, but arguably Portugal's best player, Rui Patricio, is equal to it, flying to his right to palm it away.
80 mins: And Nani's first action from the right is to cause a moment of panic for Hugo Lloris. The France goalkeeper, who has been unemployed for the previous 79 minutes, almost misjudged Nani's cross, reacting late to scoop it out from under the crossbar. A reminder of how perilous this situation is right now. One mistake and that could be that.
77 mins: Coman again causes danger in the opposition box. His cut back looked to be perfect for Griezmann, but Giroud reached back a leg to try and get a shot in and ends up just killing the attack. And that's the last action for Giroud, who gets replaced by Tigres striker Andre-Pierre Gignac. Meanwhile, Renato Sanches, who hasn't quite had the same impact in this game as earlier in the tournament, is replaced by striker Eder. That now gives Portugal a natural focal point up front. Nani moves over to the right, with Quaresma going to the left.
75 mins: Rui Patricio denies Giroud! Coman has unquestionably helped France awake from its slumber. This time he slips the ball down the left of the box for Giroud, who gets in a firm shot, but Rui Patricio does well to parry the ball to safety. France stepping things up as it tries to avoid the need or extra time.
73 mins: France find a bit of impetus, again through the pace of Coman who gets free in the box and putts in a cross. Again Portugal's defense manages to clear the danger.
71 mins: It's fair to say this hasn't been a classic final so far. Portugal won't mind too much about that, though. France has to do more. Not only does the host have to attack at higher tempo but it needs to apply more pressure to Portugal without the ball. It's too easy for Portugal just to stroke the ball around.
68 mins: Coman has certainly added some energy and directness to this France team. His shooting hasn't quite found its range yet, though, slicing a drive from distance a long way wide.
66 mins: There's the best chance of the match so far! Coman sends a fine cross in from the left and Griezmann was free to meet it six yards out, but, despite having been ruthless with his head in this tournament, he couldn't keep his header down this time. Big opportunity spurned for France.
65 mins: The slow pace at which France are playing has to make you wonder about whether the fact the host had less than 72 hours to recover from its semifinal is taking its toll. Portugal, of course, had an extra day after beating Wales. That could prove pivotal the longer this match continues goalless.
63 mins: Joao Mario gets himself a yellow card for bringing down Giroud.
59 mins: Coman makes an immediate impact, combining with Griezmann to give the Atletico mad a chance to fire at goal. His effort, though, was straight at Rui Patricio.
58 mins: And here comes that substitution: Coman on for Payet. That should give France some more natural width and pace to try and stretch a Portugal team that has been far too comfortable from France's point of view since the early stages of this final.
56 mins: Portugal showing some signs of danger going forward now. Joao Mario puts in a threatening cross that Samuel Umititi managed to head behind with the kind of key defensive intervention he made so regularly in the semifinal.
55 mins: Paul Pogba, who clearly can'y have the same impact playing in a central midfield two, has just blasted a shot high over the bar from distance. And we now have a delay because an idiot from the stands has snuck through security to run onto the field.
53 mins: A momentary blunder from Rui Patricio, dropping the ball as he came out to claim a corner before quickly claiming it at the second attempt.
51 mins: France's buildup play is still far too ponderous to unsettle Portugal. Sissoko is the only man injecting some real pace into the attack.
48 mins: Kingsley Coman was warming up vigorously during halftime, and you've got to think that Payet could soon be the man replaced. The West Ham star carried France through the early games of the tournament but his influence has been minimal since being switched to the left of midfield.
Second Half Kick Off: France get the match back underway. No changes from either side at the interval.
Here's the closest we came to a goal in a drab first half — a header from Griezmann:
Halftime: France 0-0 Portugal
France came flying out of the blocks and put Portugal under real pressure early on, coming close to taking the lead when Griezmann's header was tipped over. The big story of the first half, though, was an injury that forced Ronaldo off. Since the delay caused by Ronaldo's two attempts to come back on after treatment and final departure, the game has fallen into a slumber, with Portugal becoming even more cautious and France's early tempo dropping right off. Portugal will be very happy with the state of the match thus far. All the pressure is on the host nation to make something happen and break down Portugal's stubborn resistance in the second half.
45 mins: Griezmann has now come deep to get the ball and Payet has temporarily come right into the middle to get possession before France resorts to lumping a hopeful cross into the box. France finding this packed Portuguese rear guard hard going right now.
42 mins: Portugal is still playing far from well, but the team is enjoying a better spell late in this first half. France needs to regain its early impetus.
39 mins: Payet, who is not nearly as influential out on the left, puts a cross into the box, but Olivier Giroud can't win a header cleanly under pressure and Rui Patricio makes an easy save.
37 mins: Portugal has been horribly wasteful in possession, but it has just proved something resembling a coherent attacking move, which ended with Raphael Guerreiro's shot deflecting behind for a corner. From Joao Mario's delivery, Jose Fonte headers over the bar.
34 mins: Sissoko has, bvy some distance, been France's standout player so far, and he's just fired another shot at goal that Rui Patricio was relieved was straight at him, allowing him to parry it away, Meanwhile, Adrien Silva has earned himself a booking.
32 mins: France is still dominating, although without quite the same tempo with which it began. Since Ronaldo's departure, Portugal has become even more defensive, bringing Quaresma to the right and Renato Sanches into the middle to form what is essentially a 4-5-1 shape. Nani toiling alone up front.
And here's the challenge form Payet that took Ronaldo out of the final:
Here's Ronaldo being carried out of the Euro 2016 final on a stretcher:
26 mins: Ronaldo is replaced by Ricardo Quaresma, the man who many believed the more talented of the two when they came up together with Sporting Lisbon 15 years ago.
24 mins: And there it is, Ronaldo throws his captain's armband to the floor, collapse to the turf, the tears flow again and he'll be stretchered off. Heartbreak for Ronaldo and a huge blow for Portugal's chances.
23 mins: Ronaldo clearly isn't fit. He's limping around and surely has to go off.
22 mins: All of the drama involving Ronaldo has had the effect of disrupting France's fast start. Sissoko tries to revive it with a shot from distance that deflects behind for a corner, which Rui Patricio does well to claim.
21 mins: And Ronaldo does indeed make his way back onto the pitch. Huge question to be asked whether this is the best decision for Portugal at this point.
18 mins: Ronaldo limps off the pain with the tears still flowing, but he medical team is still working on him and no substitution has yet been called for. It appears he's going to try and play on. This is a big call for Santos, whether to let Ronaldo try and run off the pain.
17 mins: And just as I say that, Ronaldo collapses to the turf again and bursts into tears. This looks like the end of his final.
16 mins: Ronaldo still has a grimmace on his face and looks far from happy. He's definitely playing through pain right now.
13 mins: Portugal are really struggling to keep any possession. Not only has Fernando Santos' team been edgy with the ball but France is pressing very well into midfield.
10 mins: So close to an opening goal for France! A ball was floated in to the edge of the box, and Griezmann managed to manufacture superb pace and direction on the ball to get it looping over Rio Patricio and toward the top corner. The Portugal goalkeeper, though, recovers to tip it over the bar. Portugal on the ropes.
9 mins: An early concern for Portugal as Ronaldo gets a knock on the knee from Payet and goes down screaming in pain. He limps to the sideline but makes his way back on.
7 mins: France's man of the moment, Antoine Griezmann, gets a sight of goal as the ball falls to him on the left of the box, but, off balance, he skews his effort well wide of the near post. This is a similar high-tempo start from France as it put in against Germany. Portugal has not faced anything close to a quality onslaught like this so far at Euro 2016.
6 mins: France's high tempo worries Portugal again, this time ending in a volley from Moussa Sissoko a long way over the bar.
4 mins: Payet was largely anonymous in the semifinal, but already he's got involved a couple of times early on tonight, driving inside from his nominal starting position on the left. Portugal hasn't settled yet, but one long ball over the top of the French defense has just given Nani a chance for the first shot of the match. The new Valencia signing struck well over the bar from 20 yards.
2 mins: A couple of misplaced passes early on suggest nerves are certainly present. The expected pattern of the game has been established early, with Portugal sitting back and France taking the initiative to drive forward.
KICKOFF! Portugal, through Nani, get the Euro 2016 final underway at the Stade de France.
2:59 p.m. EDT: A typically spine-tingling rendition of La Marseillaise and we're ready to go.
2:56 p.m. EDT: The teams are out for the national anthems. Portugal first.
2:40 p.m. EDT: France coach Didier Deschamps has opted to keep the same lineup from the semifinal win over France, meaning it will be a version of 4-4-2 once more with N’Golo Kante left on the bench. Portugal make two changes, with Pepe winning his race to be fit and coming in for Bruno Alves and William Carvalho returning in place of Danilo after suspension.
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) July 10, 2016
— selecaoportugal (@selecaoportugal) July 10, 2016
Preview: After a month of action, the destiny of Euro 2016 has come down to the host country, aiming to restore pride and unity to the national team, and the great nearly men of European soccer this century. France, after a decade of controversy and underperformance in major tournaments, will take on Portugal, on the losing end of one final and three semifinals at major tournaments since 2000, in the final of Euro 2016 at the Stade de France.
The pre-tournament favorites, France is now just one step away from matching the achievements of its 1984 and 1998 vintages in landing a title on home soil. And in Didier Deschamps, the current squad has a coach who was captain when France won the World Cup in 1998 and followed it up by winning the European Championship two years later.
That was the last time France tasted glory, but after a difficult few years a hugely talented generation is showing signs of the unity required to deliver on the big stage once again. The team has been spearheaded, though, by a man who was largely discarded by the French system, written off as being too small, only to make his emergence in Spain.
Antoine Griezmann has six goals in the tournament, the most by any man at a European Championship since Michel Platini struck a remarkable nine to fire France to glory in 1984. And five of those goals from the Atletico Madrid forward have come in the knockout phase, including two to see off world champion Germany in a pulsating semifinal.
Thrills have been few and far between for Portugal on its route through too a surprise appearance in the final. After sneaking through the group phase in third place, coach Fernando Santos has put the focus on defensive organization, while hoping for a moment or two of inspiration from talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
So far it has proved good enough. In a drab semifinal against Wales, Ronaldo scored from a majestic header before setting up a second goal for Nani. The 31-year-old is now level with Platini on nine goals as the all-time leading scorer in the competition. And 12 years after a defeat to Greece in the final of Euro 2004 on home soil, the Real Madrid star has another chance to add some long-awaited silverware with his country to the litany of honors he has won at club level.
Check back here from 3 p.m. EDT for video highlights and live score updates from the Euro 2016 final.