African-Born Éder Wins Euro 2016 For Portugal

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Portuguese striker Éder was the hero on Sunday night in Paris as the UEFA Euro 2016 final took place between hosts France and Portugal.

The 29-year-old attacker came on as a second half substitute for Renato Sanches, and his extra time goal earned Portugal the title of champions of Europe.

Both teams had a selection of players with African heritage, and it was fitting that one of these would be the main protagonist in Paris.

Éder, whose full name is Éderzito António Macedo Lopes, was born in Guinea-Bissau in 1987, moving to Portugal in his youth and beginning a path towards a professional football career at a young age.

By 2006 his professional club career was in full swing with Oliveira Hospital, before successful stints at Tourizense, Academica and Braga in Portugal.

Earlier this year he joined Lille in the French Ligue 1 after a short spell at Swansea City in the English Premier League.

Euro 2016 final decided by an African

He has now written his name in history by scoring the winning goal that brought Portugal their maiden title.

The game began on a difficult note for Portugal, when they lost star player Cristiano Ronaldo due to injury, but the Portuguese continued to match the French on the pitch, though the hosts often seemed to have control of the match without capitalising on their chances or possession.

As has been customary for Portugal in this tournament, the game went to extra time following a goalless 90 minutes, and it was late in this extra period that the tall striker from Guinea-Bissau made the difference for his side with a brilliant shot from distance to beat Hugo Lloris in the French goal on 109 minutes.

The game was widely expected to be won by the host nation, but Portugal surprised the continent with a display that showed heart and the ability to win under pressure despite the absence of their talisman, Ronaldo.