The final of Euro 2016 (Sunday 8pm) is nearly upon us, and there is plenty of previous history between finalists France and Portugal. The two teams have met a total of 24-times, though only three of them have been in the finals of major tournaments.
It is France who have dominated their previous clashes so far, emerging triumphant in 18 of those 24 games, whilst Portugal have won 5, and one ended in a draw. That doesn’t tell the full story though, as both their previous European Championship showdowns ended in draws after 90-minutes – so let’s take a look at the big games the two have played.
1984 European Championships
The 1984 European Championship semi-final between France and Portugal is often quoted as being one of the best matches in the tournament’s history. France scored first through Domergue, but Jordao equalised for Portugal with 16 minutes left on the clock. Jordão struck again after 8 minutes of extra-time, but Domergue equalised with six minutes to go. A penalty shoot-out looked certain, but Platini’s eighth goal of the tournament gave France a 3–2 victory.
2000 European Championships
Nuno Gomes scored first to give Portugal the lead in the 19th minute, but Thierry Henry equalised in the second-half. Extra-time again looked to be heading for a penalty shootout, but France pulled it out of the fire with a Zidane golden goal in the 117th minute.
2006 World Cup Finals
This match wasn’t as exciting as the other two, with Zidane’s first-half penalty after Ricardo Carvalho had tripped Thierry Henry being enough to get them into the final.
Euro 2016 Form
Having started slowly with last-gasp wins over Romania and Albania, and a goalless draw against Switzerland, France clicked into overdrive in beating Iceland 5-2. However, luck was firmly on their side when they played Germany, with the Germans unusually goal-shy.
Meanwhile Portugal have limped their way to the final, drawing 5 games on the trot in 90-minutes, before finally notching a win against a Welsh side that had limited options after the suspension of Aaron Ramsay.
The French have tried to play with flair since the tournament began, and would be rightful winners in many eyes. However, history between the two sides suggests that extra-time may beckon once more, especially as Portugal have been the tournament’s masters of the draw. If you believe lightning can strike for a third time – France to win in extra-time at 10/1 has to be the bet.