Football

Euro 2016: Portugal players return home to heroes' welcome

By Henry Young, CNN

Published 1814 GMT (0214 HKT) July 11, 2016
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After celebrating long into the night after beating France in the Euro 2016 final, exultant Portugal fans gathered around the team bus as the players left their base camp in Marcoussis to return home. AFP/Getty Images
As their plane touched down in Lisbon, the players were welcomed back by an airport firefighters' unit spraying water over the aircraft in the national colors. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In a heartwarming touch, the aircraft featured an image of the late, great Eusebio -- scorer of 41 goals in just 64 appearances for Portugal. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An open-top bus paraded the stars through the streets of Lisbon as the players showed off the trophy -- the nation's first at a major football tournament, and some consolation after losing the 2004 final on home soil. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Many had said it would be Cristiano Ronaldo's last chance of glory on the international stage, but even the captain's injury early in the first half did not curtail Portugal's charge into the history books. AFP/Getty Images
After Ronaldo left the field, a new hero was born. Having never scored a competitive international goal, enduring a torrid spell at Welsh club Swansea last season, nobody expected Eder to be lifting the Euro 2016 trophy. AFP/Getty Images
Perhaps the most unlikely hero imaginable, his extra-time winner prompted manager Fernando Santos to pronounce "Eder was an ugly duckling, but now he is a beautiful swan." MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The France squad's homecoming was a decidedly more sombre affair. Hugo Lloris, captain of both club and country, would have been the man to lift the trophy -- had Éder not broken French hearts. AFP/Getty Images
Instead, during a meeting with French President Francois Hollande, the players were forced put on a brave face. Antoine Griezmann (left) had earlier collected his golden boot award without registering a smile. The 25-year-old Atlético Madrid striker was also named Player of the Tournament Monday, having scored six goals. AFP/Getty Images