Eder, Ronaldo and the moths


Posted today at 6:00 am

After a minute of a radio orgasm worthy of the great South American voices – between a "Goooooolo" snorkeling or "Golo, golo, golo" more jerky -, Alexandre Afonso mobilizes his memories of French lessons to drop these words in French on the microphone of Antena 1: "I love you Portugal! It’s for me, it’s for you, it’s for us, it’s for you Portugal. ”

Like its public radio, a whole country capsized and lost its mind at 109e minute of this final in Saint-Denis, this July 10, 2016. If words jostle in the language of Molière, it is also a question of warding off fate and expelling the accumulated frustration.

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France has crossed the path of the Portuguese three times to a final. There was first this goal by Michel Platini at the end of the Marseille night in 1984, the hand of the discolored Abel Xavier in 2000 or the penalty skillfully obtained by Thierry Henry six years later in the World Cup.

But in about ten minutes, the Seleçao will be European champion. Eternal rejected contender, she will finally lift her first international trophy and her hero is called Ederzito Antonio Macedo Lopes, or just Eder, as the flocking on his jersey 9 indicates.

Eder has never been a Golden Ball, nor has he really been a national team member, where his goal ratio (five in 35 caps) brings him closer to a defensive midfielder than a center-forward. At times, the native of Guinea-Bissau even embarrassed his adopted country a little. Voluntary but technically frustrated, Eder (then on loan to Lille) is a striker "Which weighs on the defenses", a polite way of saying that he does his best with his qualities and her eighty-eight meter.

"I cried a lot today"

But sometimes the God of football places his finger on an unexpected savior. This role, Cristiano Ronaldo has however in the skin since a final lost in 2004 in Lisbon against Greece. He vowed to dry his tears of the post-adolescent of the time. But his eyes are even wetter trying to kiss Eder in the midst of his teammates, twelve years later. Carried by adrenaline, he forgets his bruised knee and the ice pack placed on it. Like a bis coach, he goes back and forth along the bench, hops while replacing his teammates.

The Portuguese Ederzito Antonio Macedo Lopes, known as Eder, on July 10, 2016, at the Stade France, in Saint-Denis.

"My face is shining, it's normal I cried a lot today", he admits later at a press conference with a broad smile. First, there were sobs of rage after a knee-to-knee impact with Dimitri Payet at the start of the match. Ronaldo grits his teeth for a few minutes, then crouches in the middle of the lawn and lets go of the tear valves before giving up. Around him, moths flutter and accompany his misfortune. The day before, the rehearsal of the opening ceremony with its lighting effects attracted this swarm of lepidoptera.

Portugal must win this final without their captain and goalscorer, the one who has worn as much as he has vampirized his selection for almost a decade. In the first round, CR7 missed everything against Austria (0-0 and missed penalty) before avoiding the return to the early country with a double against the Hungarians (3-3). With three draws, Portugal went through the back door to qualify and thanks Michel Platini (UEFA president but absent noticed), whose idea of ​​a Euro 24 saved his skin as best third.

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Apart from six short minutes against Iceland at the start of the Euro, Eder followed the rest of the course from the bench and in his tracksuit top. For months, coach Fernando Santos has been meeting on July 10. Portugal has already known its Selecçao more beautiful and romantic in the past, but this devout Catholic has faith in the fate of a group on mission.

Gignac and Guerreiro, these almost heroes of the evening

As they know (and like) to suffer, the Portuguese of 2016 leave the ball to timid Blues and bow their backs. In his cages, Rui Patricio, the guardian of transcendental meditation, makes the match of a lifetime. And when he is beaten, his post plays the substitutes on a strike from André-Pierre Gignac in overtime.

After the match, Santos will reconsider his choice to launch Eder at the 79e. Intuition? Message from above? No, just a tactical choice. "We needed a player at the time playing in front to push the team block up," details the one who was an engineer in a first life.

Fate almost chose another. On the action preceding the goal, Portugal obtains a free kick at 25 meters. Behind the ball, a child of 93. But by atavism, Raphaël Guerreiro du Blanc-Mesnil preferred Portugal. His strike from the left flies over the wall, bouncing off the crossbar of a Hugo Lloris who injures himself slightly when falling.

Thirty seconds later, the Blues goalkeeper, perhaps poorly recovered, is missing a few inches to divert Eder's shot from the tips of his gloves. It was not yet time for Didier Deschamps' French team. This July 10, 2016 was good "For you Portugal".

Find our Top 30 matches that marked the Euro


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