Portugal stuns host France to win cup despite Ronaldo injury

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July 11, 2016
Portugal's Eder (left) jumps over France's Blaise Matuidi to heads the ball during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, yesterday. Portugal won 1-0 in extra time.(AP Photo)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after his team won the Euro 2016 final match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. (AP Photo)
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SAINT-DENIS (AP):

Portugal overcame the loss of injured captain Cristiano Ronaldo to beat France 1-0 in the European Championship final yesterday, with a goal in extra time from substitute Eder, securing their country's first football title.

Just as the final looked destined for a penalty shoot-out, Eder cut through the French defence and struck a low shot from 25 metres past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 109th minute at the Stade de France.

Twelve years after losing to Greece on home soil in their last final appearance, it was Portugal's turn to spoil the host nation's party and they achieved it by winning only one of their seven games at Euro 2016 inside 90 minutes.

It was dull and stodgy at times, but the record books will only show that Portugal went from third-place in its group to champion, with little help from Ronaldo in its last match.

European football's biggest match lost its biggest name midway through the first half of a cagey final on the outskirts of the French capital.

Ronaldo went down under Dimitri Payet's ninth-minute challenge and was twice forced off to receive treatment on the touchline.

However determined Ronaldo was to lead Portugal to glory, his left knee could cope no more and he was carried off on a stretcher midway through the first half.

Ronaldo was in tears, but he returned just before extra time to address his weary teammates. They seemed to be inspired by Ronaldo's re-emergence and the Real Madrid forward was soon leaping off the bench in celebrations.

Then he was lying on the turf again at the final whistle, this time in disbelief rather than pain.

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