The finals are here. After a turmoil of 50 matches, the tournament which started with 24 teams is now only left with two who will be fighting for ultimate glory.
It’s PORTUGAL vs FRANCE!
While Portugal has always been synonymous to Ronaldo, the exploits of Antoine Griezmann for France have elevated his status to one of the world’s best. While the semi-final was billed as the clash between Bale and Ronaldo, the finals will witness crosstown rivals sort it out on the field. Maybe it will be the first time that Antoine Griezmann is poised to win over Ronaldo. The last time they met each other was in the Champions league final where the game went down to the wire as Real Madrid bagged La Undecima in the penalties. The excruciating pain of the loss of the finals might not be a distant memory for Griezmann as he missed a penalty during the game.For Griezmann and France, it would be about setting things straight.
Now let us look at some facts:
Portugal may have looked vulnerable but they are a team who are undefeated in the last 13 competitive matches. Will France be able to break the streak?
Out of the six matches played by Portugal in the Euros, they have been able to win only one match in normal time. Will the game go to penalties? Out of 14 Euro finals, only on one instance the game went into the penalties.
The last 10 encounters between France and Portugal had the same result. And that is, each time Portugal lost to France.Will Portugal be able to turn the tables on France?
The last two times France hosted a major tournament, they have made sure to not disappoint the crowd. They have won both the 1998 World Cup and the 1984 Euros. Seems easy, ha. Host the tournament and win it. Will they continue ?
France has last played a major tournament final in the 2006 World Cup. On the other hand, Portugal has played their only final in the 2004 Euros.
Both of these matches are for the posterity as the former is popular for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt while the other is renowned for Portugal’s loss to the underdogs Greece.
Another interesting fact is that Greece has never made it to any other major tournament after 2004 Euro win.
All these facts will count for nothing once the players are out on the field. Only the best will prevail, the other one has to perish. For Portugal, it will be tougher as they are facing a superior opponent. For France, it will be all about holding their nerves. Even the best could falter in these times.
And, will it be the day when Cristiano Ronaldo wins a trophy with Portugal?
At least, I hope so.