Euro 2016 final: The big day has finally arrived as football forces invade the pitch to clash one last time. With greater glory hanging in the balance, both France and Portugal will battle it out from the start in a bid to win the 2016 Euro Cup. But with both teams winning 2-0 victories in the semi-finals, the contest is more than a matter of numbers. To win it all, it comes down to who outplays and outlasts the other, and who really wants it the most.
Let’s wind the clocks back a few days to when Portugal beat Wales in the semi-finals at the Stade de Lyon. After slogging through the first half with no deadlock break, Portugal made inroads into the Welsh defense in the 50th minute with Ronaldo converting a corner into a goal with a spectacular header. Proving that team Portugal isn’t about just one player, Nani nudged the second goal into the goal in the 53rd minute. Even Gareth Bale’s incredible long-distance canon firing wasn’t strong enough to put a dent in Portugal’s attack. Throughout the match, the Portuguese displayed incredible restraint, and a fierce passion on the pitch. In today’s finals they will have to count on this resilience to keep charging forward despite the odds, when they come face-to-face with France.
In what is probably this Championship’s biggest shock this year, France pulverised Germany in the semi-finals held at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille. Although the odds predicted a German victory, it was fate and a decisive penalty that put a halt to their march. A foul within the penalty box gave France their first opportunity and Antoine Griezmann stole it, slamming the ball into the back of the goal. With German morale taking a hit, it was France’s athleticism that ensured that the German team did not recover, stealing loose balls and dominating the mid-field. All their strategic set-pieces and triangular passes couldn’t stand up to France’s brute force domination. Griezmann’s second goal in the 72nd minute that nutmegged German goalkeeper Neuer was proof that the French victory was no lucky fluke.
Today’s finals will force both France and Portugal to up their game if they want to take home the Euro 2016 Cup. In a lot of ways, this match will be fought on almost equal footing. Portugal’s weak midfield will have to withstand the onslaught of the French attack. Their over-dependence on Cristiano Ronaldo to score goals will have to give way to others to share the task. Instead of bursts of attack, the French will have to temper their offensive, playing strategically as the Portuguese resolve will be their biggest threat on the field. It is this match between an unshakeable will to win and an unstoppable aggression that will make the Portugal vs France 2016 Euro Cup finals so exciting to watch.
History is proof that great matches hinge on the smallest of details. The right pass or the precise curve can make all the difference on the scoreboard. To help players get that precise shot, tackle or pivot, the right shoe with the exact technology is absolutely necessary. But the football shoe wasn’t always this advanced, and has evolved over the years in technology, fit and styling. Keeping pace with the beautiful game and its changing demands, today’s football shoes have come a long way from the humble screw-on studs. Take a look at our interactive timeline that takes you through the History of the Football Boot.
Whether you support Team France or cheer for Team Portugal, the 2016 Euro Championship final is certain to be explosive. Grab your Portugal National Team Football Kit or the France National Team Football Kit and gear up for a clash like no other. Stay updated on all things football and check out all the latest products from the biggest brands on the SSS Football Page, only at Sun & Sand Sports online.