One interesting thing about Knockout Tournaments is that you don’t have to be the best team throughout the tournament to win it. Such was the journey of Portugal, whose chances of winning the tournament were ridiculed by analysts and fans at the start of the competition and almost everyone was convinced that they were not good enough to be winners, when they drew matches with Iceland, Austria and Hungary to finish third in group F, and barely qualify for the Knockout stages. Cristiano Ronaldo, their captain and best player, received criticism for not being able to get his team a single victory against considerably weaker opponents.
The Round of 16 saw Portugal face Croatia, which was rather a lackluster performance from both sides. Portugal managed to win, thanks to a 117th minute goal by Ricardo Quaresma. Portugal won the Quarter final match against Poland on penalties, which was another match they failed to perform satisfactorily in. The Semi Final is where we got to see a glimpse of what Portugal was capable of, as they comfortably won 2-0 against Wales, in which Ronaldo and Nani were the goalscorers. During the build up to the final, Portugal was nothing but a lucky side according to a number of fans. France were the favorites to win the final at their home. Little did anyone know about what was going to happen.
A massive setback came across Portugal, as their main talisman Cristiano Ronaldo had to be taken off on a stretcher due to a knee injury during the 25th minute. Portugal’s chances were made even more slim, but then what happened is what not a lot of people expected. Portugal started playing with immense passion, defending all of France’s attacks and trying to catch them off guard with counterattacks.
It ended 0-0 after Full Time once again and went into Extra Time, as Portugal had been doing for most of the tournament. The first period ended once again with a single goal being scored. During the second half of the Extra Time, Eder scored arguably the most important goal in the history of Portuguese football, and ensured his team’s victory. Ronaldo was motivating and guiding his teammates from the touchline, and had a major role to play in their triumph against the French. Portugal, during this tournament, showed us that passion beats everything, and its never actually too late to discover your true potential and use it to your success.