Eder: Portugal v France 2016
My favourite goal from Aaron Barton.
As a young boy, I fell in love with A Seleção, at Euro 2004 I was completely mesmerized by the likes of Figo, Rui Costa, Ronaldo, Deco among many others, it was also the first time I felt footballing heartbreak. As I grew older, my love for the Portuguese national side grew also.
Fast forward to 2016, Portugal, still without a major international honour. After coming close in the Euros in previous years (runners up, quarter and semi-finalist's) it seemed as though Portugal had missed their opportunity, the Golden Generation of 2000, 2004 and 2006 had aged and disbanded and the national side was in a strange space. Euro 2016 saw Portugal stumble, yet make their way to the final.
France the opponents, the favourites, on their home soil. Portugal however, were gritty and persistent throughout. The hero? An unlikely source. It wasn't Cristiano Ronaldo, Renato Sanches, Nani or even Ricardo Quaresma. It was the hard-working, industrious player that is Eder. He was brought on in the 79th minute in place of Renato Sanches and gave Portugal a focal point for the remainder of the match. He pinned himself on Laurent Koscienly, winning aerial balls, bringing others into play and orchestrating with his back to goal.
Then came the moment. 109 minutes in, the ball is fed into Eder's feet, he turns toward the goal, ignoring the run out wide of Quaresma and instead holds off Koscienly and engineers a shot that catches Hugo Lloris completely off-guard. The ball rifled low and hard, found its way into the bottom corner. Portugal had done it.
At this point I wasn't a Portuguese football writer, I was still solely a supporter. I remember exactly where I was and the sheer jubilation after it. Massive relief and joy, the pain of Euro 2004 as a child had been somewhat remedied.
It was and still is, my greatest footballing memory.
Aaron Barton - @ProximaJornada1
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