Winning is all that counts as there’s no remarks column on the trophy, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Portugal have finally gotten into the promised land after edging France for Euro 2016 honours.
Still carrying the scars of their most famous defeat back in 2004 against Greece, their story has been rewritten with a far better outcome after outlasting France over 120 minutes on Sunday.
While many, maybe that should be hundreds of thousands, have criticised Portugal for bumbling their way onto the winner’s podium in Paris there can be no taking away the title of “2016 European champions”.
France may have scored the most goals at Euro 2016, Antoine Griezmann won the golden boot and Germany were arguably the most clinical but Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. will not be bothered by that one bit. They wake up this afternoon safe in the knowledge that they have ‘conquered’ all before them.
The expanded tournament suited them down to the tee, they only qualified for the knockout rounds as one of the best third-place finishers and from there anything could happen; and it did.
If it was the World Cup, they would’ve been out after three games. But it wasn’t and it’s all history now; Portugal are, by hook or by crook, the champions.
Fans from France and even Germany can crunch the numbers all they like, it’s all just hot air now. Winning is all that matters and Portugal took advantage of their easy passage to the final and held on by the skin of their teeth to claim a famous upset.
In four years’ time, only a handful of fans will remember the who, what and where’s of Euro 2016; they all will remember the team with the name on the trophy.
It’s now the French national team who must deal with the scars that will develop over the next four years after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
For a large portion of Sunday’s proceedings it appeared that Fernando Santos and not Didier Deschamps would be in jeopardy of losing his job. Now Santos travels back home safe in the knowledge that he has a contract renewal in the pipeline.
Deschamps on the other hand will face an anxious wait on whether he will lead the team to Russia 2018. He may try argue that the stats and style would point to his side being the best over the last month but in truth, they were only second best.