Can Portugal Defend Their European Championship Title? The reigning European champions are in the group of death in this edition.
Portugal won the 2016 European Championships after defeating hosts France through an Eder goal. This was their first ever international trophy.
Incredibly, Portugal went through the group stages of Euro 2016 without winning a single match. Fernando Santos’ men drew their way into the semi-finals of the tournament.
This is when their first victory came about as they beat a Gareth Bale inspired Wales. They went into the final against Host nation France as huge underdogs.
Particularly as the French defeated then reigning World Champions (2014 FIFA World Cup) Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament. The Germans went into the tournament as big favourites.
So in eliminating Germany, France became the favourites. Especially as they were the host nations as well.
Portugal was by far the underdogs for the game. Their biggest hope was World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.
The inspirational Ronaldo was injured within the first few minutes of the final and the fate of the Portuguese sealed.
The French boasted the likes of Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, N’golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Antoinne Griezmann and a lot more. All these big names could not find a way behind a resolute Portugal defence.
Eder scored an unlikely goal for Portugal, and they held on for dear life.
Since winning those championships, Portugal has gone from strength to strength. They have produced quality players and have risen up the world rankings.
Until the 2016 triumph, they were perennial underachievers at international level.
Portugal now boasts some of the world’s best young players. The weight has been severely decreased from the shoulders of the ageing Cristiano Ronaldo.
The likes of Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Ruben Dias are big players in their own right.
- Hungary vs. Portugal – 15 June 2021
- Portugal vs. Germany – 19 June 2021
- Portugal vs. France – 23 June 2021
Can Portugal Defend Their European Championship Title?