The Spot
Slate's soccer blog.

July 11 2016 1:27 PM

A Portugal Fan in a “Chicago 68” T-Shirt Was the Best Part of My Euro 2016 Experience

So it turned out that a better France didn’t win after all. And neither has a better Ronaldo; he won his first tournament trophy for Portugal by not playing, andcrying a little about it.

A great thing about soccer is that the game does not follow historical necessities; no national narrative played a role in Sunday’s game. Not even a personal narrative—say, the combination of Ronaldo’s phenomenal skill and great competitive desire—influenced the outcome, unless you think (as I do) that Portugal became considerably better without Ronaldo, who doesn’t like to defend or share the ball. Portugal is the 2016 European champion simply because they scored a goal and France didn’t, even if everyone thought they would, myself included. So many fans here in Paris believed they could will them to a victory, but the best, and the hardest thing about soccer is that it always comes down to the people on the pitch.

July 11 2016 1:14 AM

Everything Was in Place for a Historic French Victory. Instead, Paris Is in Shock.

Paris is silent this morning. There were some out honking and celebrating on Sunday night—fans of the Portuguese team, including members of the Franco-Portuguese community, and some French fans who chanted out “Allez les Bleus” in the streets, if a little half-heartedly. But mostly the city is in shock.

July 10 2016 7:19 PM

Portugal’s Turgid Victory Was the Dreadful Ending This Terrible European Championships Deserved

Congratulations, greedy European bureaucrats. You took the perfection of the European Championships and turned them into a bore and farce. By expanding the tournament from 16 to 24 teams, you diluted it. Portugal’s turgid triumph—that dead air of a match—was the conclusion that the tournament deserved.

July 10 2016 6:08 PM

These Photos of Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Santos Are the Real Winners of Euro 2016

After injuring his knee in the early moments, Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to a spectator in the second half and extra time of the Euro 2016 championship game.When his teammate Éder scored to give Portugal a 1-0 lead, Ronaldo showed that his cheerleading skills are just as fabulous as his goal-scoring prowess. Portugal manager Fernando Santos was also allegedly pleased with his team's victory over France. The captions of these photographs, provided by Getty Images, note that Santos is "celebrating" Portugal's victory. I'm just as thrilled as you are, Fernando.

July 10 2016 5:28 PM

Watch the Stunning Goal That Won Euro 2016 for Portugal

With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the match early due to injury, France not surprisingly had most of the chances throughout the Euro 2016 final against Portugal. In the second half of extra time, though, substitute Éder (full name Éderzito António Macedo Lopes) slotted the ball home from outside the penalty area to give Portugal a 1-0 victory and the Euro 2016 title. Ronaldo was pleased.

July 10 2016 3:49 PM

Cristiano Ronaldo Hurts Knee, Moth Tries to Eat His Eyeball, Leaves Euro 2016 on a Stretcher

Portugal started the day a huge underdog in today's Euro 2016 championship match against homestanding France. Those slim chances got a lot slimmer when Portuguese star/human wax figurine Cristiano Ronaldo went down in the opening minutes with a left knee injury after a late challenge from Dimitri Payet.

July 9 2016 7:34 PM

Paul Pogba’s Joyful, Exuberant Moment of Brilliance Was the Play of Euro 2016

Thursday night’s semifinal match between France and Germany in many ways felt like a final. That was in part because many in France seem resigned to the idea that, as is customary, they would lose to the Germans. But Les Bleus pulled off a victory, 2-0, and in the process silenced skeptics and incited a burst of intense enthusiasm here in France. The celebrations in Paris that night were spurred on by a sense of surprise, and delight. On the subways and cafés and in crowds that flooded onto the streets, people chanted: “On est en finale!!”—“We’re in the final!”—and intoned the Marseillaise, many still not quite believing what had just happened.

July 8 2016 1:00 PM

How Antoine Griezmann Became the Internet’s Boyfriend

At the moment, he’s the best goal scorer at Euro 2016. His six big moments—his liberating header against Albania, his two goals against Ireland, his chip against Iceland, and his brace against Germany—will be talked about for a long time. But above all, Antoine Griezmann has succeeded in meeting a rare challenge for a soccer player: He has inspired unity in the heart of the French public. The passion between the player and his fans is such that he’s become what’s known as “the internet’s boyfriend.”

 

July 8 2016 11:23 AM

A Victory for This French Team at Euro 2016 Would Be a Victory for a Better France

I watched Thursday night’s game between France and Germany in a biker’s bistro on rue de Bretagne in Paris, where one of the handlebar-mustached regulars brandished the insignia of Hell’s Angels France; where the heavily tattooed and studded wait staff wearing biker leather vests delivered cheese platters to the patriotic patrons; where the Croatian-born bartender actually growled at me when I asked for some water.

July 6 2016 6:55 PM

Cristiano Ronaldo Stomped All Over Wales’ Euro Dreams

Once again in this European Championship, Cristiano Ronaldo was the difference-maker for Portugal, scoring one goal and assisting on the other in Portugal’s 2-0 win over Wales in the tournament’s first semifinal match. After a quiet first half, Ronaldo scored in the 50th minute off a corner kick. He jumped into the air, hung there for a seemingly impossible amount of time, and slammed a header home to put Portugal up 1-0. A goal like this makes you extra thankful for slo-mo.

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