"We were as simple as doves and as wise as serpents." Portugal might not have played the prettiest football in Euro 2016, but when it mattered most, they delivered the telling blows with the manager Fernando Santos making sure, with that quote, following the 1-0 win over France to lift the title, the reaction to the victory would be a lot more entertaining.
Portugal, who had to overcome the massive blow of losing Cristiano Ronaldo to injury, kept things simple, as Santos said, staying compact at the back, refusing to let France through on goal easily – apart from a free header which Antoine Griezmann missed in the second half and a moment of brilliance from Andre-Pierre Gignac, Portugal did not lose their concentration – and when substitute Eder saw his chance for glory with 11 minutes to go for the penalty shootout, he made sure he took it, with interest.
"I've always told the players we've got great talent, but we need to fight more than our opponents, run more than them and be more focused than them," Santos, who made some astute tactical changes, which caught France off guard and gave Portugal more of a cutting edge towards the end of the game, said. "We have an amazing group.
"They've always believed me when I told them we could win this. Wherever we've gone there have always been Portuguese fans. This lifted our souls. It's hard to describe the players' emotions – it's incredible."
Eder might be a proper centre-forward in terms of his physique, but he is not known for scoring goals consistently. So, when the former Swansea City striker, who now plays for French club Lille, took the ball with his back to goal, there did not seem to be much danger, from a France perspective, even when he shrugged Laurent Koscielny off and found some space outside the box. However, Eder, who felt this was his moment, his moment to become a hero for his country, put everything he had in him in that one shot, and just like that, the ball went flying past Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner.
"When [Eder] came on, he told me he'd score," Santos revealed. "The ugly duckling scored! Now he's the beautiful swan!"
"It was a very special goal, the winning goal," Eder added. "A turn and strike that ended up being unstoppable for Lloris. But it's a goal that was very well created by the team, and by all the effort the team put in both in this match and since the beginning of Euro 2016."