Substitute Eder played the role of hero in lieu of an injured Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portugal No9 scored in the 109th minute to send Fernando Santos’ side past UEFA EURO 2016 hosts France and into the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.
A tense, scoreless 90 minutes went without much fanfare, apart from Ronaldo’s unexpected early exit from the tournament finale at the Stade de France. Dimitri Payet collided with Ronaldo in the early moments and the Portuguese captain went down clutching his knee. Ronaldo left the field twice for treatment in the following ten minutes and despite returning both times the Real Madrid man was ultimately substituted in the 25th minute.
There were few chances throughout the match, though Antoine Griezmann’s flashing header from the edge of the area nearly caught Rui Patricio out but the Portugal goalkeeper did well to tip his effort over the crossbar. Moussa Sissoko also looked dangerous on several occasion for Les Bleus, forcing a handful of saves from Rui Patricio.
Griezmann once again came close with another snapping header shortly after the break, but this time the No7’s effort sailed just over bar without troubling Rui Patricio. Later in the second half, Hugo Lloris mishandled Nani’s cross to cause a moment of concern, but the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper recovered to deny Ricardo Quaresma’s overhead kick to keep the scoreline even. In the final seconds Andre Pierre-Gignac hit the post, which nearly won it for France, but instead extra time was needed to separate the sides.
At the start of the second period of extra time, Raphael Guerreiro’s free-kick fired off the crossbar, nearly putting Portugal in the lead. Minutes later, though, Eder was up to the task and put the Portuguese ahead with a fine individual effort. Beating Laurent Koscielny on the dribble, Eder took a touch into space and fired a shot from 25 yards that beat Lloris to the near post, silencing most of the Stade de France but sending Portugal’s supporters into delirium.
The last ten minutes of the match saw France desperately move forward for an equaliser, but it never came. With Ronaldo back on the bench following his treatment in the dressing room and a bandage wrapped around his left knee, at the final whistle Portugal stormed the pitch in celebration, which culminated in the three-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner lifting the UEFA EURO trophy.
Ronaldo and Co will now shift their focus to Russia 2017 where they will have another chance at silverware at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The other nations who will join the hosts at Russia 2017 are Germany, Australia, Chile, Mexico and New Zealand. Africa’s representative will be determined at the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
The draw for the 17 June – 2 July 2017 tournament will be conducted on 26 November in Kazan.