The captivating, dramatic and interesting Euro 2016 competition will come to an end on Sunday July 10 at the historic and magnificent Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, in a game that will see Portugal take on the host France.
The competition so far has been unpredictable with underdog (Wales) qualifying for the semi-finals, Germany defeating Italy for the first time in competitive game, unimpressive Portugal (which finished third in group F) entering the final and the host France, against all odds, defeating current world champion Germany for the first time in a tournament since 1958 to qualify for the final despite being outplayed by the Germans.
The Final will see two Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann who have made tremendous impact in the success of their respective teams at the Euro 2016, go head to head.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50 minutes header and 53 minutes strike (which was redirected by Nani into the back of the net) was all Portugal needed to triumph over Wales in the Semi-final.
Antoine Griezmann brazenly propelled France against the German machine in the second semi final tie. France has not lost a game where Antoine Griezmann scored. The Atletico Madrid star is the highest goal scorer in the tournament with 6 goals, 3 more than Cristiano Ronaldo.
It could be a perfect opportunity for revenge, after Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid Champions League final on penalties, in a game that saw Griezmann lose a penalty in regular time. He scored in the penalty shootout, while Ronaldo scored the winning kick.
France will also be relying on talisman Giroud who has got 3 goals so far, impressive midfielder Paul Pogba and Dmitri Payet to crush down the Portuguese.
Portugal has also got Nani, young vibrant and energetic mid-fielder Renato Sanches and super-sub Ricardo Quaresma. Pepe may return if he recovers in time.
Portugal has not lost any of their 13 competitive matches with coach Santos in charge. Portugal has won nine and drawn four.
Head to head, France has the upper hand, as Portugal has not defeated France in their last competitive meetings during which they lost two semifinals, at Euro 2000 and the 2006 World Cup (both decided on penalties).
France has an impressive home record as they are on the verge of winning a third straight major tournament on home soil after winning the 1984 European Championship and the 1998 World Cup where they crushed Brazil 3-0 in the same Stade de France on 12 July, 1998.
Overall, it’s going to be an exciting final.