Belfast Telegraph

Tears to cheers for injured Ronaldo as Portugal lift European Championship

Portugal hero Eder reveals: Cristiano told me I'd score

By Mark Ogden

New Portugal hero Eder has revealed how Cristiano Ronaldo still had a major influence on his side's Euro 2016 final triumph, despite being stretchered off injured in the first-half of the 1-0 win over hosts France.

Eder, who came on in the 79th minute, scored in extra-time as Portugal clinched their first ever major trophy despite the loss of their skipper, who was in tears after exiting the action early at the Stade de France.

The former Swansea striker said: "Ronaldo told me I would score the winning goal. He gave me this strength, this energy and it was vital.

"It's well deserved and we should all be congratulated."

Eder added: "For all the work we did, for all of the Portuguese, it's fantastic.

"It was a goal I've been working for from the first minute of the Euros."

Didier Deschamps, meanwhile, admitted France missed a 'unique opportunity' to be crowned European champions.

Despite being strong favourites to win their third European title, and second on home soil, Les Bleus failed to convince as they fell to defeat.

And Deschamps, who captained France to World Cup glory at the Stade de France in 1998, admitted his country was suffering after the shock defeat on a night when so much was expected.

"We've missed a unique opportunity to win a Euros in our own country," he said. "There are no words.

"The disappointment is there, and it's huge, and it will take time to digest.

"But we won together, we suffer together and, today, we lost together.

"We so wanted to rouse the French people, and it would have been magnificent to bring the trophy home to them. But, unfortunately, that isn't going to be the case."

France faced Portugal just 72 hours after defeating Germany in a draining semi-final in Marseille and Deschamps hinted at his players being fatigued by that victory.

"Even if we were a little bit tired as well, that's not an excuse," he said.

"We had chances to score, and the last one fell to (Andre-Pierre) Gignac.

"It came down to tiny details, it was a close match.

"We had chances, as did the Portuguese, but unfortunately they scored.

"It's a great disappointment for it to end now, with losing in this final.

"We must not throw everything that we've done away, but we threw away a great chance to be European Champions - not the only one, but a great one."

Belfast Telegraph