Portugal wins first major tournament
UEFA Euro 2016 Final: Portugal 1-0 France (after extra-time)
Portugal wins its first official match against France since 1975 and stopped a series of 10 consecutive defeats against the French. France failed to win the Euro for the third time.
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach:
“I’ve always said we’re a team. I never hide my thoughts – I always tell my players what’s on my mind. I’ve always told them we’ve got great talent but we need to fight more than our opponents, run more than them and be more focused than them. We have an amazing group. They’ve always believed what I told them: that we could win this.”
Wherever we’ve gone there have always been Portuguese fans. This lifted our souls. It’s hard to describe the players’ emotions – it’s incredible. Our skipper put in an immense effort; he has amazing team spirit. Twice he tried to get back on the pitch but him being there in the dressing room and on the bench was very important for us. He believed – just like myself – that tonight was our night”.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal captain:
“We beat France and I’m delighted. This is one of the happiest moments in my career. I’ve always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history. And I did it. Thank God, things went well for us. I’d like to thank my team-mates, our coach, our wider team in this EURO, the Portuguese people and all the ex-pats who were always with us, cheering for us from the beginning. This is a unique moment for me, for all the Portuguese people and it’s unforgettable.”
Didier Deschamps, France coach:
“There are no words after that. The disappointment is huge, and we will need time to digest it. We won together, we suffered together, and today, unfortunately, we lost together. It would have been wonderful to offer them [the French people] the trophy at home, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Even if we were a little bit tired as well, that’s not an excuse. We had chances to score, and the last one fell to ‘Dédé’ Gignac. It came down to tiny details, it was a close match. We had chances, as did the Portuguese, but unfortunately they scored. It’s a great disappointment for it to end now, with this final. We must not throw everything that we’ve done away, but we threw away a great chance to be European Champions – not the only one, but a great one.”
Of course the overriding emotion is of huge disappointment. It’s cruel to lose the final like that. I have to congratulate Portugal. Clearly we had our opportunities and we weren’t clinical enough. We weren’t cool-headed enough, but I can’t hold anything against my players. They gave everything tonight.”