The Euro 2016 final on Sunday sees a match between hosts France and Portugal that will unleash a clash between one of the world’s greatest players ever Cristiano Ronaldo and would be pretender Antoine Griezmann.
After 50 matches over a month of football that has seen stunning shocks by Iceland and Wales, Ronaldo is counting on his side producing one more upset so he can finally win an international trophy.
Portugal will have to beat a French side who have found new inspiration from Griezmann – the tournament’s leading scorer on six goals – and being willed on by a nation avid to rediscover the feelgood factor.
With the country still on terrorist alert after the November 13 attacks in which 130 people died, more than 3 400 police will be on the Champs Elysees in Paris alone when the match starts at the Stade de France at 1900 GMT.
Rival coaches Didier Deschamps of France and Fernando Santos of Portugal have been desperately trying to shield their teams from the sky high hopes of two nations.
Deschamps, who captained the French side that won the 1998 World Cup and the Euro title in 2000, said he could feel the adrenaline pumping.
DESCHAMPS WANTS TO PLAY “It’s an exceptional moment, a privilege, a unique chance because there is a title at the end,” Deschamps said of the final.
“What you need to do is approach it as relaxed as possible while being at the same time totally focussed on the match,” he added.
“On the bench, there is a frustration in not taking part, but I can’t do that anyway. But I’m fine, I don’t feel any pressure, no stress, just adrenaline and that’s positive.”
France have put in some stylish performances, including their 5-2 win over Iceland to end the giant killing run of the team that dumped England out of the contest.
France captain Hugo Lloris said the team wants to put their name in the football history books to redeem themselves for a player revolt at the 2010 World Cup that made them a national disgrace.
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