On July 10, 2016, in Paris, Éder scored the most important goal in the history of Portuguese football: the striker fired in the 109th minute of the Euro’2016 final with France and gave Portugal the first European champion title.
The 2016 European Football Championship, more commonly referred to as Euro 2016, was the 15th edition of the European Men’s Football Championship organized by UEFA.
Portugal in general loves football, on all corners cafes fill up when it’s game day, and people get excited when Benfica plays against Sporting. But on July 10, 2016, none of that mattered, the Portuguese came together and with one voice cheered for the national team.
It was the final against France and the game was 0-0, captain Cristiano Ronaldo was injured on the bench and the hopes were low. Ninety minutes were not enough and there was a need to play extra time.
It was Éder, who replaced Renato Sanches shortly before the 90th minute, who surprised the nation and became a hero for the Portuguese. On the minute ‘109, the player received from Moutinho on the left, held on to Koscielny, gained space and fired from the middle of the street, low and accurate, scoring the first goal of the match.
In that moment the crowd vibrated, no one could believe it, CR7 was crying of joy on the bench, the Portuguese were shouting and applause was heard in every house.
The national team recovered and, full of adrenaline, the players joined their forces and held the result until the final whistle that would confirm the most beautiful chapter in the history of Portuguese football.
Portugal broke a sequence of 23 French team unbeaten matches in host tournaments, broke a winning streak against the French rival, and made France the fourth host in a major tournament to lose a final at home.
“It’s been 4 years since we lived a historic and unique day for all of us! For me it was without a doubt the most important title of my career!” celebrates Cristiano Ronaldo on his Twitter account.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) July 10, 2020
Fernando Santos, the team’s coach, was perhaps the only one to believe that the national team would return to Portugal on July 11 in celebration. He believed so much that he said it, at a press conference, at a time when Portugal had added two draws in two games in the group stage. At the time, of course, few must have taken it seriously. Today, precisely four years after winning the Cup, it remains the most beautiful prophecy in Portuguese football.
With UEFA’s decision to postpone Euro 2020 to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Portugal has become the second-longest European champion in history, with only the Spanish ahead of it. The Spanish national team won the 2008 European Championship in Austria and Switzerland and, four years later, also won in Poland and Ukraine, in total, ‘La Roja‘ held the status of European champion for eight years.