European Championship 2016 was that international football trophy that Cristiano Ronaldo had long longed for with his country. It was a massively unexpected result on the evening of July 10 when Eder scored a scorcher in the 109th minute of the match to give Portugal a memorable victory. Ronaldo was on the sidelines barking instructions and motivating lines when Portugal got that big win. As the final whistle blew, he was in tears, the whole team was in tears, the whole country was in tears – it was a massive night, their first-ever major trophy.
Portugal defeated favourites France 1-0 in a match that was played for 120 minutes at the Stade de France in Paris. It was France’s home ground and with the generation of players they fielded, they were expected to be dominant and emerge victorious. France was dominant, only they couldn’t get the victory. An unlikely hero in Eder emerged for Portugal.
There was not much difference in the possession for both teams but France attempted about 150 passes more than Portugal. Such was France’s positional strength that they even covered lesser distance than Portugal. France took 18 shots at the Portuguese goal but got seven on target, four more than Portugal’s shots on target. Both the teams hit the woodwork once and France had four shots of theirs blocked. In defence, most of the numbers for both the teams were more or less equal, except Portugal completed 30 clearances to just 17 by France.
Ahead of the match, the build was all about Cristiano Ronaldo vs the extremely talented French squad and as early as the 25th minute, the big man had to be substituted. Dimitri Payet made a cynical foul at Ronaldo that led to the then-Real Madrid man needing treatment. After some time, he got back to his feet and tried to continue but couldn’t and indicated for substitution. It is still an iconic image as Ronaldo walked out of the field of play in tears. However, those tears soon turned into one of joy when he motivated his team on crutches from the sidelines and the team performed as a unit to get the infamous victory.
France won Group A with Switzerland qualifying for the Round of 16 in the second place. Group B saw Wales finishing on top and England and Slovakia (as one of the four best-third teams) qualifying for the next round. From Group C, Germany, Poland and Northern Ireland made the knockout stages. Croatia and Spain advanced from Group D, Italy, Belgium and Republic of Ireland from Group E and Hungary, Iceland and Portugal from Group F. Portugal made the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams and hence, no one really saw them reaching the final, forget winning the title.
ROUND OF 16
Here were the Round of 16 results: Poland beat Switzerland on penalties 1-1 (5-4), Portugal beat Croatia 1-0 in extra time, Wales bested Northern Ireland 1-0, Belgium trounced Hungary 4-0, Germany crushed Slovakia 3-0, Italy defeated Spain 2-0, France got past Republic of Ireland 2-1 and Iceland beat England 2-1.
Iceland defeating England was the iconic result of this stage and got the country its best-ever result in any major competition.
In the quarter-finals, Portugal needed penalties to beat Poland 1-1 (5-3), Wales got a huge 3-1 win over a very talented Belgium squad, Germany trumped Italy on penalties 1-1 (6-5) and France eased past Iceland 5-2.
Wales beating Belgium was the standout result in this stage and got the country it’s first semi-final in a major competition.
Both Portugal and France got 2-0 win over Wales and Germany, respectively. Ronaldo and Nani scored the goals for Portugal while Antoine Griezmann scored both the goals for France.
Golden Boot: Griezmann (France – 6 goals, 2 assists)
Silver Boot: Ronaldo (Portugal – 3 goals, 3 assists)
Bronze Boot: Olivier Giroud (France – 3 goals, 2 assists)
Player of the Tournament: Griezmann
Young Player of the Tournament: Renato Sanches (Portugal)
Goal of the Tournament: Zoltan Gera (Hungary – fan favourite), Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland – jury favourite)
Top goal scorer: Griezmann
Top assist-maker: Eden Hazard (Belgium), Aaron Ramsey (Wales) – 4 each
Most clean sheets: Manuel Neuer (Germany), Rui Patricio (Portugal) – 4 each
Total number of goals scored: 108
Average goals per match: 2.12
Total number of penalty kicks awarded: 12
First goal of the tournament: Olivier Giroud (France vs Romania)
Fastest goal: Robert Lewandowski, 1 minute 40 seconds (Poland vs Portugal)
Shortest time difference between two goals scored by the same team in a match: Michy Batshuayi and Eden Hazard, 2 minutes (Belgium vs Hungary)
Most goals scored by a team: France, 13
Fewest goals scored by a team: Ukraine, 0
Most goals conceded by a team: Iceland, 9
Fewest goals conceded by a team: Italy, Poland and Switzerland, 2
Best goal difference: France, +8
Most goals scored in a match by both teams: 7, France vs Iceland
Most goals scored in a match by one team: 5, France against Iceland
Oldest goal scorer: 37 years and 61 days, Zoltan Gera (Hungary against Portugal)
Youngest goal scorer: 18 years and 317 days, Renato Sanches (Portugal against Poland)
Total number of yellow cards: 205
Total number of red cards: 3