Summer of Soccer–Euro 2016 Final

Read part 1 of Euro 2016 journal here

Read my Copa Centenario journal here


France vs Portugal live

The 2016 European Championship Final saw France take on Portugal. The hosts versus Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy quest. The match up recalled previous match ups, including the Euro 2000 Semi Final and the dramatic 1984 Semi Final. The latter event was something I learned about the days leading up to the tournament (Video and Howler Radio podcast)

For the match I headed down to Fado Buckhead. The plan was to record a Terminus Legion podcast and get a seat for the game. Due to a scheduling mix up the podcast didn’t happen but thank god I was there early. I settled in at a table on the mezzanine and by 1:30 tables downstairs were at a premium, by kickoff people were four and five deep at the bar, and by halftime, you couldn’t get in. I did some get stinkeye as people walked through the bar in search of somewhere to watch the game. Sorry guys. This wasn’t my first rodeo.


Les Bleus were the preferred team at Fado with Portugal and Ronaldo being booed during the walk out. Cheers of Allez Les Bleus rang out from time to time and not much sympathy was given to Ronaldo when he went down injured and eventually had to be subbed out. Sissoko brought out gasps of excitement and anticipation as he drove forward in search of the opener. He seemed to be the only player who was willing to create opportunities and most of the other players fluffed their lines or skewed their shots into the crowd.

Portugal took the cliché “survive and advance” and executed it to the utmost during this tournament. Ronaldo’s two goals saved them against Hungary and allowed them to advance out of the group as a third placed team. From there, a putrid performance against Croatia was salvaged by a late goal in extra time and then they held their nerve against Poland, while the victory against Wales was their first in regulation of the tournament. For the Final, they hustled and bustled without doing too much, although they did trouble Lloris from time to time. I thought for sure Portugal were going to win the match when a handball was incorrectly called against Koscielny but the free kick thundered off the crossbar. There was no let off when Eder created space and hit a low hard shot to secure Portugal’s first major title.


In the end, Cristiano Ronaldo delivered what Eusebio and Figo could not. He now has almost every major title and surely will be named Ballon D’Or later this year. Say what you want about him, but he delivers. His key goals got them to the Final and even though he only played a small part of the Final, you can’t ignore his efforts on the sideline.

As for France, I am surprised they lost. Les Bleus seemed to be peaking and were ready to join their predecessors by winning on home soil. Maybe it was nerves, maybe something else, but they never really hit top gear. Maybe Kante should have played. Maybe Martial should have come in earlier. Maybe Griezmann just ran out of magic. However their performance sets the stage for possible run to the World Cup in Russia.

A couple of odds and ends.


Surely Real Madrid is going to be pissed at the Portugal training staff for letting CR7 run about on a torn ACL.


What can you say about Quarsema’s hair? Wish some of these players would put as much time into their finishing as their follicles.

France's midfielder Moussa Sissoko (L) vies for the ball against Portugal's defender Raphael Guerreiro during the Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

As for the kits, the Final was not marred by some weird clash or alternate alternate kit. Both teams wore the home strip. Would have preferred contrasting shorts but Nike clearly has an idea of what they want their kits to look like.


In the end I enjoyed the tournament. Watching the BBC’s post Final montage and quickly skimming the Guardian’s highs and lows I was reminded of some the wonderful moments as well as the quickly forgotten episodes. Several outlets lamented the lack of excitement and quality. I thought there some poor games but some amazing goals and wonderful atmosphere. To be fair, I was a little more distant from the tournament than normal due to other commitments but still relished the event.


Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

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