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Portugal v France Euro 2016 Final Preview: Les Bleus to celebrate glory on home soil

Ross Aylward 9 Jul 2016
  • Euro 2016 hosts France have made their way through to the tournament final
  • Waiting for them at the Stade de France are Portugal
  • Les Bleus are the favourites - but can Cristiano Ronaldo spoil the party in Paris?
Antoine Griezmann

The remaining two teams will head to the Stade de France for the Euro 2016 final - but will it be France or Portugal getting their hands on the trophy?

Portugal's Euro 2016 campaign has been quite a strange one. They became one of the first teams to ever get through the European Championships group stages without managing to win a single game, drawing against Austria, Iceland and Hungary - matches they were expected to win - to qualify as one of the competition's best third-placed teams.

It's fair to say that even in the knock-out stages, the Seleccao never really hit their stride until the semi-final win over Wales as below-par performances against Croatia and Poland saw them through only in Extra Time against Vatreni and on penalties against the White Eagles. Quite simply, they'll have to put in their best performance of the tournament to win the final.


France were hardly convincing themselves in the group stages, although they did manage to pick up four more points than Portugal. A last-gasp winner from Dimitri Payet saw them open the tournament with a victory over Romania, before two late goals saw them through against Albania and their final group match saw them play out what turned out to be a largely irrelevant goalless draw with Switzerland.

In the knock-out stages, Les Bleus have looked better. They came from a goal down to beat the Republic of Ireland, romped to a 5-2 win over Iceland in the Quarter Finals and then overcame World Champions Germany in the semi-finals in Marseille on Thursday evening. Didier Deschamps' men look like a team full of confidence right now.

It won't be a simple victory for the hosts though. Nerves and pressure always play a part when we reach the final of any big international competition and as such, we rarely see the most open of games. What's more, Portugal have actually looked pretty strong defensively in the knock-out stages, conceding only once in three games - which is all the more impressive when you consider that two of those games went to extra-time against Poland and Croatia.

However this France team definitely have the capability to battle through and find a route to victory in 90 minutes. In Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal are quite heavily reliant on a star man in attack, whilst France will be hoping that tournament top scorer Antoine Griezmann can link up with the likes of Payet and Paul Pogba to cause Fernando Santos' men problems at the back.

That man Griezmann has been a sensation at this tournament. The Atletico Madrid man had a great domestic season, firing in 32 goals in all competitions for los Rojiblancos and he's taken that form into his international career too. The 25-year-old's brace against Germany in the semi-final saw his tally rise to six goals and it would take something spectacular to stop him winning the golden boot now.

The Stade de France is a magnificent stage for one of the biggest encounters in world football, the European Championship final. The last time France played in a major final here, they were 3-0 winners over Brazil in the World Cup 1998 - this final is likely to be won by a closer margin, but we're still backing les Bleus for be triumphant in front of their home fans once more.



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Portugal v France Euro 2016 Final Preview: Les Bleus to celebrate glory on home soil

The remaining two teams will head to the Stade de France for the Euro 2016 final - but will it be France or Portugal getting their hands on the trophy?

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