- Four Selecao in tournament’s XI as Griezmann emerges Best Player
Portugal flew home to Lisbon yesterday to be greeted by thousands of fans chanting the name of their goal hero Éder, whose extra-time strike sealed their 1-0 victory over France in the final of the 2016 European Championship.
After travelling in a plane named after the late striker Eusébio, the coach Fernando Santos and captain Cristiano Ronaldo were greeted by rapturous applause from the 5,000-strong crowd as they lifted the country’s first major trophy aloft.
An open-top bus ride followed as the players met the President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who said he would honour them with an award for distinguished acts of public service.
“I have to praise everyone. I will commemorate them with the Order of Merit of Commanders – that is a decree that has never been given to the national team,” he told the broadcaster RTP.
The former Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who lost to Greece in the 2004 final hosted by Portugal, showered praise on the players.
“Portugal had deserved this European champion title since 2004. Sunday night,Portugal was able to get back the title that we lost in 2004,” he told Sport TV.
Meanwhile, UEFA yesterday named French forward and tournament top scorer, Antoine Griezmann, as the Best Player of Euro 2016, a day after the hosts’ 1-0 final defeat to Portugal.
“Antoine Griezmann was a threat in every game he played. He works hard for his team and possesses technique, vision and quality finishing,” said UEFA Chief Technical Officer Ioan Lupescu, who led the panel that picked the striker.
Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, was among UEFA’s 13-strong panel of technical observers.
Atletico Madrid man Griezmann, 25, for whom Sunday’s defeat was a second major final loss in a month after the loss to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League, also won the Golden Boot award for his six goals.
He also had two assists in France’s run to the final, but had a rare off-night in front of goal on Sunday and was unable to haul the hosts to victory.
Griezmann and midfield schemer Dimitri Payet were included in the UEFA team of the tournament named Monday, as was Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, who was stretchered off injured and in tears after a crunching tackle by Payet.
Portugal defensive lynchpin Pepe was also included, along with fellow Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Raphael Guerreiro.
There was no place for Gareth Bale, but Wales teammates Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, both midfielders, were named in the team of the tournament.
UEFA team of the tournament: Rui Patricio (POR); Joshua Kimmich (GER), Jerome Boateng (GER), Pepe (POR), Raphael Guerreiro (POR); Toni Kroos (GER), Joe Allen (WAL), Aaron Ramsey (WAL); Antoine Griezmann (FRA), Dimitri Payet (FRA); Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)