The New King of Europe
Portugal sealed a historic victory against host nation France to crown this summer Euro 2016 in the most sensational and symbolic fashion on sunday night. the pure storyline of this final match as the entire world acknowledged was supposed to underline the defining moment of Ronaldo’s glittering international career in his ultimately one long-lasting dream before retiring from professional career, winning a major trophy with his national team and this wonderful dream indeed came into reality as Portugal cruised to a sensational 1-0 extra time winner to record their 1st ever major trophy. but when Ronaldo pulled out a painful knee injury inside the 30th minutes and left the pitch in a very devastating tears, no one would have truly imagined that his teammates could inspired to produce an astonishing show to fight all the way and becoming triumph at the end and once again his face was filled with sign of tear, but in full scene of crying with joy and happiness.
Fernando Santos proved his ultimately successful coaching philosophy to guide his team to this prestigious prize and many other factors contributed so incredibly to lead Portugal becoming the kind of Europe perhaps. on the night when William Carvalho deployed into holding central role, they looked so compact and alert to display their ideal defensive line, while three dynamic and tactically versatile men, Renato Sanchez, Joao Mario and Adrein Silva coordinated a midfield with their ample vision, sharpness and significantly cohesion to adapt playing their ideal transition counter-attack strategy at its best look and the partnership of Ronaldo-Nani highly demanded sheer spark of finishing run and pace as it logically suggested to be their realistic weapon in attack against the host nation. they consistently appeared to maintain their wonderful pressing play with resiliency, sharpness and confidence we have seen them throughout this tournament and France creative players like Griezmann, Pogba and Payet most often faced an extreme challenge to mastermind their fluid and explosive movements to falter Portuguese at the time of having possession, the missing element which became the integral factor of their promising style en rout to their achievements against Germany, Iceland and Ireland in the play-offs, nevertheless those outstanding evidences meant to shine against cohesive Portugal side. Payet aggressive tackle on Ronaldo left Santos with no choice other than taking his superstar out as it was Ronaldo’s request at the time and bringing Quaresma for him and drastically switching his set up with Quaresma shifting wider to operate behind Nani as their front man with Silva dropping little deeper centrally to offer spaces for their passing in transition, while Sanches and Mario slightly drifting over flanks to impose flair and crafty combination play with Quaresma when he intended to control ball with his skills and linking with them on and off the ball with five players tracking over the line to win spaces against Pogba and Matuidi. accordingly this effort forced France central midfielders to change wide instead of moving up field and to some extent Portuguese limited Griezmann to interchange with central players when going forward. although Atletico Striker will have regret for two miss-header changes across the interval, but France realistically failed to penetrate their high tempo play over against Portugal and the introduction of Eder has lead them to fire their masterpiece tactical strategy, when he scored the winner in the extra time.
Their style of play in this tournament might have been widely viewed as over defensive with preferred deep pressing order rather than attacking possession to get result, the contradicted feature to Portugal traditionally technical& fluid character they famously have been known since that golden generation of Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Gomez, however; the fact interestingly proved very successful for Fernando Santos in modern era. This statement seem visible in many ways, but it mainly indicated to offer more pragmatic tactical organization with focused on well defined roles for the players to control the flow of the game with reliable shape when transitioning to attack, reacting collectively and effortlessly overall. It is fair to say this idea was their priority to play, but this defensive intent was based on the characteristics of squad and their capabilities to set up efficient attacking approach as it seen almost throughout the campaign, rather than suggesting Portuguese attempt to ignore sheer attacking skills realistically. Pepe was a masterful leader at back line with his maturity, understanding his fellows and reading the change of game, allowed the holding midfield to Interact winning space more purposefully, while with usually 6 men behind the ball, both Joao Mario and Joao Moutinho and even Adrien Silva provided fine vision and energetic passing ability to lead transition going forward, often had the support of wingers to link up and enjoy pace to trouble oppositions. Rafael Silva and Sanchez were so lethal to apply that spark and despite the lack of real freshness in attack, both Ronaldo and Nani showed some good movements with mobility when pressing high up the pitch, especially Ronaldo’s contribution apparently underlined one pivotal factor to his side’s ambitious game plan during the group stage and playoff rounds in a particular way as reflected him and the squad to the best Impression. the performance of players highly dedicated to elevate their ability in adapting to the best formation and essentially shaping Ronaldo’s most productive role or emerged his “underdog role”, not the one aimed to build the team around him as it was believed and seemed should have been the main goal; instead providing him with acknowledgment of performing to elevate the confidence of the team and to get the best out of his teammates, in fact compromising his heroic number 10 winner for the sack of team’s comfortable style and efficient strategy to control the pressure and creating chances relatively for likes of Quaresma, Sanchez, Rafael Silva and Joao mario to enjoy freedom of playing more energetic and fluid movements up front. Being constantly criticized for his underperformance in given team an edge and killing touch, Real Madrid star positively offered good spaces, high mobility off the ball and enough link up options for Nani and midfield to combine with pace and energy to considerable extent. The back four composed of center back partnership of Pepe and Fonte had perfect shape and strength with their two lethal full backs, Rafael Guerreiro at left and Cedric Soares on the other side operating delightfully on both channels, when Ricardo Carvalho played on the right side his presence occasionally brought in experience to defense, while Soares and Vieirinha, who only started in three games had similarily injected more freshness in pushing high with the second lad had a bit softness to defend. on the positive note of team performance, Two full backs consistently tracked and rotated at back to maintain vital mobility and resiliency when pressing defensively, while showning capability to stream forward to offer width with their vision and speed, the ideal featurs to counter attack approach. Guerreiro would have been fairly considered as Portugal’s break out sensation in this euro, his delicate defensive strength in marking positions and breaking play at press was blended with his eagerness in charging forward runs as a wingback, possessing delightful pace and skillful combination tricks to play attackers to exposed gaps with fine overlap runs and inswing crosses. He provided balance between defense and midfield line, his beautiful left footed free kick that hit the post in extra time inspired a momentum leading to Eder winning strike three minutes later. If there is a brilliant youngster deserved to claim best young player of this euro he must be Renato Sanchez, he was the revelation of the team. At age 18 he produced an incredible glimpse of flair, speed and tactical vision to inspire midfield on both spectrum of pressing in front of back line, while igniting attacking dynamic, capable of winning space to switch forward pass in central area or when combining from wide, he offered dimension of passing fluidity and efficient change of dynamic play. His enthusiasm elevated Portugal’s reliability to dictate the pace in midfield. Santos tendency to take risk in making vital changes to his set up on variety of circumstances and based on the different quality of oppositions, shifting the midfield shape from three central passer to classic 4-4-2 with center-mid partnership of holding role and lying passer in case of either Moutinho_Danilho or William Carvalho, while deploying Quaresma and Rafael Silva and sometimes Andre Gomez as wingers to apply creativity with their silky dribbling skills and dynamic overlaps encouraged more penetration purpose against intense opposition pressing, smoothly reverting the 4-1-3-2 formation to 4-2-2 or mixing it with possessive 4-3-3 attacking minded, their adaptation playing with those changes had sustainability on both technical and work rate levels. Portuguese have underlined a fantastic team identity and clear tactical vision on equally many basis amid many challenges and limitations at their disposal to become the king of Europe.
Portugal deservedly crown the glory despite many criticisms, but they bravely formed an extraordinary team spirit, fantastic tactical vision, balanced technical capabilities and incredible deft to pull all the challenges on their way to the final with their ability of adapting to their best formation, relaying on intelligent and energetic press-breaking off the ball movements and indicating dynamic and timely pace of counter-attack, complimented with a sustainable passing in transition, mostly in courtesy of their superb revelation in this tournament, Renato Sanchez, who simplified their balance and skills to control midfields in most difficult game, either when defending or when playing with considerable extent of possession against different opponents. Ronaldo will be remembered for this amazing achievement and he has established his global legacy and ultimately legendary blueprint of winning symbolic international prizes.
France meanwhile experienced a high profile European campaign as the host nation with lots of positives to be consider amid their ultimately regret in losing the glory in front of their fans. the team with plenty of talented and skillful individuals in different positions signals a vision of optimism and delight for their coach Deschamps. he has done a tremendous effort to rejuvenate the theme of national pride and team spirit since taking charge and since then has inspired the gradual transitions to France golden days after their tough era in recent years. Griezmann excelled in playing making positions with his exceptional technical ability and pure executions in nearly perfect manner, his six goals and wonderful assists was the main reason for French journey to the final and he will regret also for the missing those headers, but his movements and contribution was truly excellent. Olivier Giroud also has shown positive remarks, his successful partnership with Griezmann up front had both players to fire in attack, Giroud smart off the ball runs to win spaces for Griezmann and his consistent link up runs with Payet on wide channels proved very effective in breaking organize defenses, most notably in their 2-1 win against Republic of Ireland and crashing Iceland 5-1 in quarter-final. perhaps the most heated storyline of players in this French team was Paul Pogba and he nearly achieved expectation as a central holding midfielder. his energetic runs in deep positions, fine passing vision to control midfield, crafty skills and dynamic play when going forward boosted his team with an spectacular dimension of tactical fluidity and reliable speed anywhere in the final third. he supervised the battles to shield pressing and winning spaces in deeper positions as Griezmann, Payet interchanging movements up front; he then could join them by storming to advance positions with his enthusiastic runs and touch to maintain possession if either attacker would have switching wide to combine and Matuidi accordingly had to cover holding role behind Pogba with good understanding and eye to link with open runs. their partnership had reliability, but sometimes slightly lack of awareness. Sissoko eventually appeared as their lying play-maker to drift inside, swinging wide to link up and sustaining their passing plays. Sissoko performed brilliantly in both semi against Germany and in the final, eagerly making dazzling runs with his touch and pace to break Portugal intense pressing line in many occasions on Sunday night. their defense however; was exposed to keep up with high tempo play of opposition attackers and throughout the tournament and overall they struggled to keep their concentration level at its highest, while at times were a bit nervous to react. but with so many promising signs emerged in this Euro for France as a worthy host nation, they will surely navigate their long journey to clinch glory in the future.