One of the most undeserved tournament victories in recent history. A Portuguese side that managed to win ONE game without having to go to extra time is now crowned kings of Europe. A team that conceded three goals to Hungary and tied Iceland is going to represent Europe in next year’s Confederations Cup in Russia.
Portugal had easily one of the easiest paths to a final since that one Madrid team won Champions League this year. It’s that simple. They had by far the easiest group in the tournament with Austria, Hungary and Iceland. Funny enough, they squeaked into the Round of 16 by being one of the best third place teams. In THAT group.
Their game against Croatia in the Round of 16 was flat out the most uneventful and dull football match I have ever seen in my life. No creativity from either squad and an utter desperation and anticipation for the penalty shootout. Somehow someway, Portugal scrapped a 1-0 win.
They needed a penalty shootout to make it past Poland in the quarterfinals and their first 90-minute win of the tournament didn’t arrive until the semi finals when they beat Wales.
Of the seven teams they faced in the tournament, only France and Croatia had legitimate chances at the title at the beginning. Sure Iceland and Wales made their countries extremely proud with their performances but in reality, their presence in the tournament alone was a cause for celebration.
Props to Portugal though. It was almost as if they wanted to get third place on purpose to avoid the deadly obstacle course of the bracket and parade through the easier side. In the end, its not their fault the bracket came out the way it did. It was extremely lopsided and unjust but that’s the way the ball rolled.
For example, Italy, a group winner, would’ve had to face Spain, Germany AND France before reaching the final when Portugal, a third place team, BARELY beat Croatia, Poland and Wales.
It also comes down to their level of play. For the majority of the games they played, they flat out underperformed. Yes Cristiano scored three goals in the tournament, but overall his performance was far from elite.
But hey, that’s the game. Deserving or not, Portugal is now the kings of Europe so congrats to all the Portuguese out there on their very first international trophy.