France (FIFA Rank 17) v Portugal (8)
France have an excellent history as the home team in major competitions. The last home team to win the Euro's: France in 1984. France's only World Cup victory came in 1998 as the home nation in the newly built Stade de France, coincidentally where the final is being held today.
Portugal's last Euro Final appearance was in 2004 when a 19 year old Cristiano Ronaldo joined the veteran core of Deco, Luis Figo and Ricardo Carvalho and were big favorites against Greece in the final. Greece scored an early goal and did what they did all summer, defended a lead and got the surprise victory. Since then, Ronaldo has become a transcendent player and Portugal has continued to overachieve in international competitions with a semi-final in World Cup 2006 and a semi-final in Euro 2012 as the highlights. But no titles.
France won the game of the tournament in the semi-final when they beat Germany 2-0. Antoine Griezmann had two goals to take his tournament leading total to six (Ronaldo leads a group of 6 players in second on 3 goals) and after a stellar two seasons with Atletico Madrid the 25 year old attacker has become the talk of the tournament and is a darkhorse for Ballon d'Or consideration at the end of the year. To get to the final France also had to eliminate Republic of Ireland and Iceland in the knockout rounds.
Portugal had a tougher path to the final. They tied all three group matches, finishing third in their group and only advancing due to goal differential in the more generous 16 teams advance from a 24 team field format. But because of a fortuitous draw, they ended up on the easier side of the bracket and took advantage. Portugal beat Croatia in extra time in the Round of 16 1-0, took out Poland on penalties in the quarter-finals and beat Wales 2-0 in the semi-final from Lyon to make it to Paris.
How to Watch:
Germany v France
Sunday, 12 Noon
Location: Stade de France, Paris, France
Streaming: Watch ESPN
- If tied after extra time, there will be 30 minutes of extra time followed by penalties if needed.
- The winner of this game not only wins the European Championship and writes a legacy that will last for their lifetime, but they qualify for the Confederations Cup next summer in Russia as well.
This is your Sounder at Heart European Championship Final Gamethread. It has been a pleasure to be with you all summer with daily previews and notes on every Copa America match followed by the end of the European Championship. Watch with us.