After 30 days and 50 games we have arrived at the final of EURO 2016. France and Portugal will do battle for the Henri Delaunay Trophy on Sunday night at the Stade de France.
On one side we have a team that the majority expected to reach the final. The hosts France started off the tournament looking nervous and lacking a cutting edge, however the superb form of Antoine Griezmann and a partisan home crowd have helped the French to scintillating performances against Iceland and Germany. The French are looking to continue the remarkable record of winning every major tournament that they have hosted and go into this evening’s game as heavy favourites.
On the other side is the un-fancied Portuguese team, who many wrote off pre-tournament as being too reliant on starman Cristiano Ronaldo. Strong performances from Nani, Pepe and Renato Sanches have taken the burden off Ronaldo and their team spirit through testing times during the tournament has been evident. The final gives Ronaldo the chance to do what Lionel Messi never could – lead his national side to championship glory. A win on Sunday would certainly put him in the bracket as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
France went into the semi final against Germany with a full complement of players and have come out the other end in a similar state. Didier Deschamps is likely to go with the same starting team that impressed against Germany, with young defender Samuel Umtiti keeping his place and Moussa Sissoko denying Premier League champion N’Golo Kanté.
It is looking like Portugal will also have a fully fit squad for the final in Paris. Pepe has recovered from a thigh strain to likely take his place in the starting lineup, with Bruno Alves the man to miss out. Portugal are looking to win their first major trophy and a win on Sunday night will make up for their loss to Greece in the final of 2004 staging of the tournament.