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Euro 2016 Diary: Portugal spoil the party and send bus back to depot

Eder’s super extra-time winner sent France’s Euro 2016 hopes heading in the wrong direction. Their celebratory bus is sure to do likewise.



Obviously, celebrations for winning major football tournaments cannot just be thrown together like an impromptu garden party, but perhaps the organisers of the party France will never enjoy might have been a touch more subtle.

Sending a “Champions of Europe” bus hurtling down the motorway in broad daylight is set to become the joke that will never get old in Portugal.

First thing Monday morning, get the whitewash out. Pronto.


Thankfully many in a packed Paris fan zone had a roaring good time in the hours before kick-off, in the hours before Eder ruined everything.

Once against, the Champ de Mars location under the gaze of the Eiffel Tower proved a huge draw and was packed to capacity to see Didier Deschamps’ men fall short.

There were unfortunately some skirmishes outside the fan zone but fans mingled together and the Portuguese contingent celebrated without hassle, underlining the initiative’s status as one of Euro 2016’s success stories.


Maybe that bus driver is a go-getter who holds down a second job with Adidas?

The sportswear giant lit up the Arc de Triomphe, placing Paul Pogba alongside France icon Zinedine Zidane – suggesting the Juventus midfielder was set to make history as his countryman did with two goals in the 1998 World Cup final win over Brazil at the Stade de France.

The reality was somewhat different, as Pogba struggled to live up to his £100million price tag and was outshone in the France midfield by recently relegated Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko.


Naturally, Portugal were in the mood for celebrations and the early stages of these in the stadium doubled up as a handy way to avoid us pesky journalists.

A mixed-zone interview with the unfortunately quietly spoken Cedric Soares came to an abrupt end when his team-mates, en masse, snaked their way through the crowds with an all-singing, all-dancing conga. Hero of the hour Eder was front and centre, while Cristiano Ronaldo braved that knee injury to play his part in the festivities.

Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte was asked to stop and apologised, simply pointing to the conga – an awesome force all of us were powerless to stop.


Samuel Umtiti has been one of the finds of the tournament, playing with composure one would not readily associate with a previously uncapped 22-year-old at the heart of France’s defence.

He will swap Lyon for Barcelona next season and looks set for many more memorable outings on the biggest stage when he overcomes Sunday’s heartbreak.

By fishing out a membership pass from Umtiti’s days playing youth football in Lyon, French sports minister Thierry Braillard provided a touching pre-match moment.

Mon 11 Jul, 2016
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