France and Portugal make rival claims for Euro 2016 'history'

Winning the final would be a cathartic experience for a country still in a state of emergency following a wave of extremist attacks across Paris on November 13 that killed 130 people.

His competition truly came to life as a second-half double completed France's 2-1 second-half turnaround against Republic of Ireland in the last-16, while the 25-year-old also produced an exquisite lob during the 5-2 quarter-final demolition of Iceland. Then France captain Didier Deschamps, now coach, was in the starting lineup and was tasked with keeping the likes of Rivaldo and Leonardo quiet, which he did so perfectly teaming up with Christian Karembeu.

"It was a very important game for us. We can see that". "The French know Cristiano is the player capable of destroying their dream because he has produced magic moments in huge matches right through his career". The venue for the final is the same as the one in 1998 - Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris. "But, to be fair, France were better than us".

Cristiano Ronaldo will be desperate to win a major trophy for Portugal. "And sport has this ability to bring people together. We celebrated too much before the final in 2004". "But it's worth finishing on your knees for".

This is the fifth EURO final France is playing.

"We've shown many values, especially in terms of teamwork". It's safe to say we no longer have the artists, not in the same numbers anyway.

"There is some uncertainty, it's not science, and you may not win, but you have to do everything it takes to win and that is the state of mind we're in".

France has only failed to win one of its games in the tournament, a 0-0 draw with Switzerland in the group stage. "I will go home very happy".

When they returned home, the fallout was enormous and the players were loathed by the French public, who viewed them as irresponsible and selfish spoiled brats, and they were lambasted by politicians.

"Superstars like him relish these situations - the pressure that goes with it brings the best out of him, when other players falter". But Ronaldo is a constant threat around the area and at set-pieces. Like his teammates, he welcomes the turnaround in the squad's standing with the home fans. Perhaps it's time to evaluate just where this would rank on the scale of sporting achievement, paying overdue recognition to one of European football's most maligned national teams.

"It's magical to play a final in your own country". It's true we don't play the handsome game like previous Portuguese teams, but with the attractive game we never won anything.

French law enforcement authorities on Saturday pledged "extremely high" security in Paris for Sunday's European Championship final, with thousands of police patrolling as hundreds of thousands of fans mass in the French capital for the match. With one goal in the final, though, Ronaldo will move ahead of Michel Platini, the man who led France to victory the only previous time it hosted the competition in 1984, as the all-time top scorer in the European Championship.

More heartache followed in 2006, when the team that had stumbled at the final hurdle of Euro 2004 on home soil lost in the last four of the World Cup Finals.

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