Once upon a time Cristiano Ronaldo qualified Portugal for a World Cup with four goals in two matches and earned himself the Ballon d’Or in the process. Back then they could have been accused of being a one-man team. Fernando Santos relied on Ronaldo for Euro 2016 success but not to the extent that he couldn’t orchestrate a win without him.
For a country that has traditionally failed to produce a classic No. 9, Portug
al certainly picked the right moment to unleash Eder. Until the point in the final in which he was introduced at the expense of Renato Sanches, Santos had made do with Nani and Ronaldo as his central striking options.
The loss of Ronaldo on 25 minutes meant that one of those choices was taken from him and Nani had endured a fruitless night through the middle against Samuel Umtiti and Laurent Koscielny. What Eder gave Portugal was a moment of pure instinct. He rammed his right-footed drive past Hugo Lloris, giving joy to 11 million of his countrymen.