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FROM 24 TEAMS, we’re down to the final two as France look to go all the way on home soil with Portugal standing in their way.

The hosts are aiming to win the tournament for the second time after the their triumph in 1984, while the Portuguese have never been crowned European champions before — coming closest in the 2004 final loss to Greece.

Kick-off is 45 minutes away… Don’t go anywhere.

Defender Pepe returns to the Portugal side against a France team unchanged from their semi-final victory over world champions Germany.

A thigh injury kept the Real Madrid defender out of Portugal’s 2-0 victory over Wales in the final four, but he fronted up to media on Saturday to declare himself fully fit.

Soccer Euro 2016 Portugal Source: AP/Press Association Images

William Carvalho also returns to Fernando Santos’ XI in place of Danilo at the base of midfield, having missed the semi-final through suspension. Santos will once again send his side out in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Nani joining captain Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.

Renato Sanches – 18 years and 326 days – is the youngest player to feature in the tournament’s final. Didier Deschamps’ France side are hit favourites coming into the encounter, and name an unchanged side for the third game in succession. With six goals to his name,

Antoine Griezmann is almost certain to be the tournament’s top scorer and will support Olivier Giroud up front, Moussa Sissoko and Dimitri Payet will provide support from the flanks.

Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba line up in the centre of midfield, leaving N’Golo Kante on the bench once again, despite his starting role earlier in the competition. Deschamps has kept faith with Samuel Umtiti in defence.

The Lyon centre-back made his international debut in the quarter-final win over Iceland in place of the suspended Adil Rami, before turning in an excellent performance to keep Germany at bay last time out.

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Cedric Soares, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro; Joao Mario, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva; Renato Sanches; Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo.


France: Hugo Lloris; Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Samuel Umtiti, Patrice Evra; Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi; Moussa Sissoko, Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet; Olivier Giroud.

The Stade de France has been invaded by a swarm of moths ahead of kick-off.

It’s all a bit biblical…

Soccer Euro 2016 Portugal France Source: Martin Meissner

Portugal v France - UEFA Euro 2016 - Final - Stade de France Source: EMPICS Sport

Portugal v France - UEFA Euro 2016 - Final - Stade de France Source: EMPICS Sport

Let’s have your verdict… Who will be lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy at full-time?

Poll Results:

France (385)
Portugal (302)

The closing ceremony is in full swing on the pitch at present. We’ve got an orchestra on the pitch and David Guetta is playing the tournament’s them tune. It’ll be awhile before I get that out of my head.

Stade de France

Now that’s out of the way, the teams are emerging from the tunnel with Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg and his team leading the way.

La Marseillaise has just been belted out, so we’re ready to go.

Flag 1Mins

KICK-OFF – We’re up and running. Both teams are wearing their traditional colours, which pleases me greatly.


Some sloppy passing from Portugal during these opening minutes. Must be the nerves.


CHANCE  - And it’s fallen to Nani. Valencia’s recent signing collects a long ball on the chest and volleys over Hugo Lloris’ bar.

Down the other end, Sissoko blazes over with a wild effort.


Pressure from France results in a shooting opportunity for Griezmann, but the current leader in the Golden Boot race smashes the ball into the side-netting.

And Ronaldo is down receiving treatment after a tackle from Payet. He’ll live.


SAVE! That was close. Rui Patricio has to pull off a fine save to tip over Griezmann’s header after a delightful ball from Payet. The Portugal goalkeeper then catches a Giroud effort from the resulting corner.


I may have spoke too soon about Ronaldo’s injury. He still appears to be struggling. That would be a disaster for Portugal.

Portugal v France - UEFA Euro 2016 - Final - Stade de France Source: EMPICS Sport


It’s not looking good. Ronaldo is in tears as he trudges off the pitch to receive treatment.

Ronnie tears


Good news! Ronaldo is back on the pitch with his knee strapped up. Let’s hope he can run it off.


Look at the cheek of this moth…


SUBSTITUTION – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Euro 2016 is over. He has been stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Ricardo Quaresma. Devastating for him.

Ronaldo stretcher


DECENT EFFORT – Sissoko fires a strike straight at Rui Patricio. The Newcastle United man has started brightly here.


Portugal are beginning to come more into the game, with Joao Mario getting a bit of joy down the left side. No chances to report though. This hasn’t exactly been a classic so far.


Half-time: Portugal 0-0 France 

Portugal v France - UEFA Euro 2016 - Final - Stade de France Paul Pogba with referee Mark Clattenburg. Source: EMPICS Sport

Flag 46Mins

SECOND HALF – We’re back at it. No changes from either side at half time.


Nani isn’t happy after Umtiti fouls him. Moments later, Sissoko brings down Pepe.


ANOTHER CHANGE – Kingsley Coman is on for Payet as Didier Deschamps makes his first substitution.

He’s immediately involved in a chance and plays a through-ball on for Griezmann, who shoots at Rui Patricio.


HUGE CHANCE – Coman crosses for Griezmann and the top scorer puts his header wide from close range. He needs to score that.


Coman lines up a shot from 25 yards but gets it all wrong. He has brought a bit of life to France’s attack since coming on though.

Moutinho has come on for Adrian Silva as well.


GOOD SAVE! Rui Patricio keeps out Giroud after another pass from Coman and Portugal eventually clear their lines.

15 minutes on the clock. Are we looking at extra-time here?


SUBSTITUTIONS – Giroud is off to be replaced by Pierre-Andre Gignac. Surely Anthony Martial is worth a run, no?

For Portugal, Renato Sanches, who was having a good game, makes way for striker Eder.


Lloris called into action twice in quick succession. First, the France skipper bats away Nani’s goalbound cross, before saving Quaresma’s acrobatic overhead kick.


Nani’s shot sails wide, then Patricio keeps out another drilled attempt by Sissoko.


Three minutes of additional time to play…


POST! Gignac turns in the box but sees his shot come back out off the upright. So close.

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Full-time: Portugal 0-0 France 

We’re going to extra-time, folks. There’s another 30 minutes of football to be played.


OFFSIDE – Pepe heads just wide from Quaresma’s free-kick but the linesman’s flag has gone up.

Meanwhile, Raphael Guerreiro has picked up a yellow card.


YELLOW CARDS – Matuidi is booked as Eder goes for a tumble. Then Carvalho brings down Coman and is handed a caution by Mark Clattenburg.


Eder rises highest to head into the ground and Lloris saves.


Half-time extra-time: Portugal 0-0 France 


CROSSBAR! Koscielny is the latest player to get yellow-carded for a handball, which replays show actually hit the arm of Eder.

Guerreiro steps up and rattles his free-kick off the woodwork with Lloris beaten.

Flag 108Mins

GOAL! Portugal 1-0 France (Eder) 

WOW! Portugal have broken the deadlock. Substitute Eder holds off the challenge of Koscielny and lashes the ball into the bottom corner. The place erupts.


Here’s that strike…


We’re five minutes away from a Portugal victory. Have France got anything left in the tank?

Anthony Martial has been thrown as Deschamps attempts to rescue the game. Too little too late?

Flag 115Mins

Full-time: Portugal 1-0 France (after extra-time) 


About the author:

Ben Blake