Portugal will be looking to beat France for the first time in 41 years when they take on the host nation in the final of UEFA Euro 2016 at Stade de France on Sunday.
You can watch Portugal vs. France live online through the streaming links provided right here.
It took until the semi-final against Wales for Portugal to register their first win in regular time at Euro 2016, and yet, Fernando Santos’ side have produced the goods when required throughout the course of the tournament. Having drawn all their games in the group stage, Portugal qualified for the knockout round in third place behind Hungary and Iceland. Since then, the Portuguese have needed an extra-time goal against Croatia and a penalty shootout win against Poland to pave their way to the semi-final, where talisman and team captain Cristiano Ronaldo rose highest to give Portugal a shot at winning a major tournament for the first time in their history.
In their only other appearance in a European Championship final, then-hosts Portugal lost to Greece at Euro 2004. Santos will hope his team can now inflict the pain of losing a final at home on France, who have a much better record when it comes to winning in the finals of major tournaments.
Portugal definitely enter the game as underdogs, not only because they play the hosts in the final, but because they have not managed to win against France in the last ten competitive games, dating back to March, 1975.
Speaking before the game, however, coach Fernando Santos maintained that his team abounds in match-winning characters, although he stopped short of putting too much burden on star man Cristiano Ronaldo, according to UEFA.com.
“I don’t think there’s any point discussing the France team. Everyone knows them very well. Right from the beginning I’ve always said there would be three favourites to win this competition: France, Spain and Germany. And then there were other contenders, including Portugal, who could perhaps also win it.
“If we have to pay attention to individuals then we would have to worry about everyone – I would have to list every single name in the France team. They have well-known, top-quality players who play at big teams around the world. Of course, every individual player can make the difference, but Portugal also have a strong team with individual match winners.”
Portugal will be looking to keep up their defensive resilience against a technically-gifted French side, and with the counter-attacking potential they have at their disposal, Santos will be looking at his forward players to hurt the hosts with efficiency in front of goal.
In a huge defensive boost before the game, Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate, Pepe, has been passed fit to play in the final after missing the semi-final against Wales, according to Sky Sports. Midfielder William Carvalho is also set to make his return having served a one-match suspension.
You can watch Portugal vs. France live online through the streaming links provided at the end of this article.
Host nation France have a wonderful opportunity to emulate the heroics of the Euro winning squad of 1984, when Michel Platini scored a tournament record nine goals on route to lifting the trophy. This time they have a different star man in Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, who has notched up six goals of his own, including a brace in the semi-final against Germany, and is set to be crowned the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2016 barring a miracle.
But while Griezmann has deservedly received the accolades for his match-winning performances, he has been ably assisted by players like Dimitri Payet and Olivier Giroud, who have also racked up three goals each in the tournament so far. With the French side brimming with attacking potential, one would be hard pressed to imagine that this is a team which voluntarily left Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema, out of the squad for Euro 2016.
Furthermore, France have a great record of winning major tournaments at home, having also won the World Cup in 1998 and the Euros in 1984 in their own backyard.
French coach Didier Deschamps, who captained France to a Euro win in 2000, expressed confidence in his team to rewrite history, but also cautioned his players of Portugal’s strengths.
“We have this opportunity to become European champions. Whether you’re 18, 20 or much older, there’s a chance to win a title and we need to seize it without thinking about what might happen in the future. The players know they’re privileged to be playing the UEFA EURO 2016 final at home in Paris.
“We haven’t had a chance to work on tactics since the semi-final. It’s all been about recovering from that match, but I’m confident my players will be ready for this huge game.
“[My win as a player in 2000] belongs to the past. This is their story. I’m a part of it, of course, because I’m the coach. I use it to my advantage, the fact I’ve won major competitions as a player; that helps me, but I never talk about the past. What matters now is the present and the future.
“Portugal have a lot of quality and it’s no accident they’re here. Like us, they were criticised at the start of the tournament. Like us, they are now in the final. They are an experienced team who can alter their system to deal with opponents. Their defensive triangle is solid. They don’t try to win the ball back high up the pitch, but try to break quickly with their two quick players up front.”
Didier Deschamps has no injury concerns before the game, and it is likely that he will select an unchanged squad from the semi-final for the match against Portugal.
Soccer fans in the United States can catch all the action live on ESPN (ESPN2, ESPN3 USA, ESPN Deportes TV), while fans hoping to catch the game live online can watch it by clicking on Watch ESPN.
If you live in the United Kingdom, you can catch the Portugal vs. France game live on ITV 1 and online on ITV Hub.
Fans in France can watch their team take on Portugal on beIN Sports and M6 France, with the live streaming option being available on beIN Sports and 6Play. In Portugal, fans can tune into RTP to watch their team take on France in the UEFA Euro 2016 final, with the live streaming option being available on RTP and RTP Play.
Fans in South East Asia, including India, can tune into Sony SIX to watch Portugal vs. France live on television, while the live streaming link for the game can be found on Sonyliv.
For a full list of the channels telecasting Euros 2016 around the world, and their complementing live streaming links, click here.
Alternate links to watch the Portugal vs. France game live online can be found by going to Live Soccer TV.
[Photos by Clive Brunskill, Matthias Hangst/Getty Images]