Euro 2016 Roundup: Making History In The Beautiful Game!
Tottering Portugal stunned hosts France, the hot favorites, 1-0 in the extra time of the Euro 2016 final to claim their first-ever title in a major tournament on Sunday night, lowering the curtain of the most eye-catching soccer gala this summer, which was full of history making.
Sunday’s final was the first Euro decider to finish goalless after 90 minutes. Portugal’s final triumph was their first win over France in 41 years. France’s final defeat was their first loss in a major tournament fixture on home soil in 56 years.
Portugal, the 10th different Euro winners to lift the Henri Delaunay Cup, set a record of tying six times with their opponents in the 90-minute regular time on their 7-game road to the top podium.
They labored through the group stage as one of the four best third-place finishers with three draws, downed Croatia with a last-gasp extra-time winner and eliminated Poland on penalties before beating Wales 2-0 within 90 minutes in the semifinal.
It was the first time for a Euro final tournament to have 24 teams instead of 16 from 1996 to 2012. More group matches and an added Round of 16 rose the number of total games to 51 from previous 31.
Portugal played a total of 720 minutes in the tournament, including three extra times, the most of any nation at any major tournament.
The Real Madrid top striker, 31, also made the most Euro finals appearances of 21 after Sunday’s final, followed by Germany’s midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (18). Meanwhile, Ronaldo surpassed former Portugal star Luis Figo to have the most appearances of 133 for Portugal.
Debutants Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania and Wales all emerged from the group stage, a feat matched by Slovakia in their first Euro appearance as an independent nation. Iceland shocked favorites England 2-1 in Round of 16 before losing 5-2 to France in the quarterfinal. Wales, led by Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale, even roared into the semifinal before losing 2-0 to Portugal.
Bayern midfielder and Portugal teenager Renato Sanches, 18, became the youngest player to appear in a UEFA European Championship final and later became the youngest winner.
A total of 108 goals were scored at Euro 2016 over 51 games, at a rate of 2.12 per match and one every 44 minutes. The rate was down from 2.45 at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The quickest goal of this tournament came from Poland star striker Robert Lewandowski who netted just 100 seconds into the quarterfinal against Portugal. It was the second-quickest goal in Euro history after Dmitri Kirichenko’s effort for Russia against Greece in 2004 (67 seconds).
Only two-thirds of the penalties awarded during regulation time in France were converted, the lowest success rate since 1972 when one of two were scored.
Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson pulled off 27 saves, leading the way among goalkeepers by denying the opposition more than five times per match on average.
The overall attendance at Euro 2016 was 2,427,303, with an average of 47,594 spectators attending each game, the highest since 1988.