The winner of the 15th edition of the European Championship will be decided this Sunday when hosts France meet Portugal at Stade de France.
After France’s 2-0 win over World champions Germany last night, the bookies have put the France vs Portugal odds making the hosts evens favourites to win the tournament for the third time in their history, whereas Portugal are 7/2 to bring the trophy to the Iberian Peninsula.
France is hosting the tournament for the third time after 1960 and 1984. Even though the Soviet Union won the 1960 edition, France was victorious 32 years ago and will want to clinch their second European Championship trophy on home soil on Sunday.
France, who will be looking to win their first trophy since Euro 2000, should be feeling very confident ahead of the game as they are yet to lose a European Championship final.
Statistically speaking, Portugal is a very comfortable opponent for France. Les Bleus have won 18 of their 24 meetings with Portugal, with the Iberians victorious in 5 games.
When it comes to their European Championship meetings, France has won two out of two – both of them semi-finals – in 1984 and 2000.
This will be Portugal’s second ever European Championship final after their 1-0 loss to Greece in 2004.
Portugal’s defense will have to be very careful as the collaboration between Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann is one of France’s main strengths.
Griezmann only scored 1 goal in the group stage, but has found his form at the right time, scoring 5 goals in France’s knockout games so far.
Portugal struggled in a group with Iceland, Austria and Hungary, but managed to finish third with 3 draws. After their dramatic 3-3 draw with Hungary, Fernando Santos dropped Ricardo Carvalho for Jose Fonte and decided to deploy more pragmatic tactics in order to make the defense more compact.
It was a great tactical decision, which paved Portugal’s way to the final.
Ronaldo hasn’t scored as many goals as he’d have liked so far, but his role in Portugal reaching the final has been massive. The Real Madrid striker has 3 goals and 2 assists so far and will be a major threat for France’s defense on Sunday.
It’ll be a very nervous and tight game as there’s much at stake. Fernando Santos is a very good tactician and he’s likely to employ more pragmatic, counter-attacking tactics in order to use the speed and power of Nani, Ronaldo and Renato Sanches.
Didier Deschamps, on the other hand, has also proved he’s tactically astute as France managed to win games against both counter-attacking and possession-based teams.
Both teams have world-class match-winners in their ranks and the final will probably be decided by a moment of magic from either Ronaldo or Griezmann.