The pain of losing the Euro 2004 final on home soil to Greece has been relieved for Portuguese fans and players to some extent after their 1-0 win against France in Euro 2016 final. They had a chance to make amends at the Stade de France on Sunday evening and they did it. Here are five reasons why Portugal won Euro 2016:
5. Fernando Santos
This Portuguese coach is a tactical master known for his strategies. The substitutions he made created the much needed differences in the game. He played with a defensive strategy in spite of having the world’s best striker in his team. He remained unfazed by the criticism of his team’s style of play. He wanted them to deliver, which they did.
4. Formidable Defense
Portugal’s defense was mightily impressive in the tournament. They conceded just five goals in the tournament – only one of which came in the knockout rounds. Rui Patricio was phenomenal throughout the tournament.
3. Experienced Core
The core of this team has been playing together for almost a decade. This resulted in a brilliant sense of understanding. It also helped the team in tackling the difficult times throughout the tournament.
2. Super Sanches
Renato Sanches showed the world the glimpses of his skills which made him one of the most expensive teenagers in the history of the game. The 18-year old, at times provided the much needed energy which lifted the team at crucial moments.
1. The Ronaldo Factor
The mere presence of this Real Madrid striker is enough to make any team a favorite for the title. Though he was out of the final quite early due to an injury, he was instrumental in his team’s journey till then. He provided the much needed motivation and belief to his men. It was only fair for this modern day legend to lift what could be his last Euro trophy as a player.