Portugal's players crowded around Cristiano Ronaldo as he sat on the turf, but their tearful captain couldn't withstand the pain of his injury any longer. The Portuguese had to win their first major trophy the hard way on Sunday, stunning France 1-0 after extra time in the European Championship final, having played without Ronaldo from the 25th minute, the AP reports. Two hours after being carried off the field on a stretcher, the three-time world player of the year returned a champion for the first time with his country. "I had bad luck because I had a small injury in the beginning of the game, but my colleagues did their part—they run, they fight," said Ronaldo. "Nobody believed in Portugal, but we won."
An unlikely scorer secured the pre-tournament outsiders a title at last. It could be an uncomfortable few months ahead for Ederzito Lopes, better known as Eder, the unheralded striker who will return shortly to French club Lille after breaking French hearts with his 109th-minute goal. A second-half substitute, Eder scored only his fourth goal in 29 appearances for Portugal with a low shot from 25 yards past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. "Cristiano told me I would be scoring the winning goal," Eder said. "He gave me strength and positive energy." In doing so, Portugal denied the French a third final victory on home soil to add to Euro '84 and the 1998 World Cup. "Football can be very cruel," said Lloris, France's captain.