Practical Portugal, Floundering France
How Portugal stunned hosts France to win their first major trophy
- After extra time
REPORTING FROM PARIS
1 Grit, guts and gumption
At times, their resilience defied belief, but not Fernando Santos' template.
Portugal's "soak-and-suffocate" plan certainly wasn't unique, but their execution almost certainly was.
In the knockout stages, Portugal faced just eight shots in 330 minutes of action - and conceded only once.
That record was extended after another 120 minutes against the hosts and tournament favourites.
Santos has yet to lose a competitive game since taking over in September 2014 and makes no apologies for Portugal's ugliness.
A man who coached in Greece took a little from the Greek triumph from Euro 2004, making Portugal one of the hardest sides to watch and, equally, one of the hardest to beat.
The only subtle difference is a telling one. Rather than two banks of four camped in their own half, Santos deployed four uncompromising grafters, runners and muscle men either side of William Carvalho (above).
The 4-1-4-1 formation used after Cristiano Ronaldo went off gave the illusion of attacking enterprise, but really, it was a cautious, safety-first approach that earned an unlikely win.
2 Mixing age and athleticism
Santos also benefited from another overriding theme of Euro 2016. Apart from Belgium and, perhaps, England, there were no group of players all around the same age who came through their academies together and were primed to excel.
In the final analysis, Santos got the perfect mix. Renato Sanches (above) - the youngest to feature in a Euro final - linked well with elder statesmen Luis Nani and Ronaldo.
And William Carvalho protected Pepe and Jose Fonte.
Joao Mario and Raphael Guerreiro busied themselves around Eder and Ricardo Quaresma, when the latter two were introduced. Their running was tireless and the enthusiasm infectious.
The young ones helped the old guard enjoy a fitting finale to their long and distinguished careers. Now they'll be expected to carry the torch at the World Cup in Russia.
3 Snapping, snarling Portuguese pit bulls
Pepe (above) is very much the durian of football. He's either loved or loathed.
He's 33 and unrepentant after a career of niggling and snarling at opponents. Nobody does it better.
When Pepe was presented with his winner's medal, he had to take out Olivier Giroud to make room in his pocket. He and Carvalho also ensured Antoine Griezmann had his worst game.
Before Euro 2016, everyone was talking about Paul Pogba. After the final, he was a forgotten man. Sanches had stolen the show.
In Pepe, Carvalho and Sanches, Portugal had three indefatigable gatekeepers. They would not be moved.
4 Santos' sly tactical tweak
The former electrician (above) knew his side lacked a spark and used Ronaldo's injury to fix the French overload in midfield.
He changed Portugal's shape, sending on Ricardo Quaresma to play wide on the right and leaving Nani alone up front. With the extra body in midfield, France's early attacking impetus was lost.
Didier Deschamps, no slouch in the tactical tweaks department himself, introduced Kingsley Coman in the second half and suddenly, France looked like winning again.
Both coaches went for broke, throwing on conventional No. 9s in Andre-Pierre Gignac and Eder .
But Santos' initial tactical tweak, along with his galvanising ability to drill a limited Portuguese side until they became more than the sum of their parts, just about earned him that huge slice of luck.
PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS
5 That surreal winner from Eder
He played only 267 minutes of EPL football for Swansea last season. He was an understudy to Bafetimbi Gomis.
Most fans consider Eder (above) to be a bit of a joke, an ungainly, clumsy striker compared to their more finessed forwards. In football terms, Ronaldo and Eder were Beauty and the Beast.
Before the final, he had just three goals in 28 games - all of them in friendlies.
Sometimes, football can be over-complicated and over-analysed. Sometimes, it really is the daftest game. And there's nothing dafter than Eder scoring the 20-metre winner.
It was the mad end that the maddening showpiece perhaps deserved.
BY THE NUMBERS
Portugal have been ahead for only 73 minutes of their 720 minutes played Euro 2016.
Portugal are the 10th country to win the European crown, after playing 35 games at the continental tournament.