Portugal's progression through the early stages of this tournament was resented by many fans. Prior to the game against Wales, it was the near universal desire of the neutrals that the Welsh dump the Portuguese out of a tournament which they should have departed a couple of rounds earlier.
With the bad will of so many ringing in their ears, Portugal stuck up the middle finger and went and stunned the stylish French team in their home final.
Comparisons are being made with Greece in 2004 and even Denmark in 1992, two other 'reactive' teams not to contenders at the outset and whose progress in the tournament was accompanied by constant predictions that their next game would surely be the last. Promisingly, we seem to be on a 12-year loop here. 2028 could be Ireland's year.
That was Portugal's revenge for Greece in 2004. Reached the final without trace and won on tactics and commitment. France: a wasted chance.
— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) July 10, 2016
Is the comparison with Greece fair? Greece should have been an uplifting underdog story and yet their style of play meant few neutrals took any joy in their win.
Portugal boast better players than Greece and clearly improved as the tournament went on. They dominated most of the encounter against Poland, were comfortably better than darlings Wales and could have won by more in the finish and were very far from being outclassed last night despite losing their superstar. On our Euros Racket podcast, our takeaway (in association with Four Star Pizza) is that Portugal winning the tournament playing in a conservative fashion is far from the end of the world. Here's Mick McCarthy;
This is really unfair on Portugal who have Cristiano Ronaldo on their team who've been in about 57 European championship semi-finals in the last few years. They weren't an exciting, attacking team. But I don't think anyone is quite like Greece. I think Greece are a one-off. I think we should stop comparing teams to them.
France were probably the best team in the tournament but they never exactly blew us away. And Portugal hung in there. We talked about the job they did against Croatia, the way they stifled them. They took care of business. They weren't this team of journeymen thrown together. An average team like Portugal with good characteristics can win a tournament and be a decent team without it being the end of the world.
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Ladbrokes Bet of the Day
Despite a few wobbles we end up in credit in our Ladbrokes Bet of the Day slot. We began with €50 and ended up with a grand tally of €500. Our final bet was that France to be drawing at half-time but victorious at full-time, a tip that would have come in had Gignac steered the last minute shot inside the post in the final minute.