Contender or Pretender – Can Portugal overcome 2004 misery and finally lift Euro 2016?
In 2004, Cristiano Ronaldo made his way into the Portuguese starting XI, then led by Luis Figo, but suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Greece in the Euro final.
New Delhi: Portugal may have already experienced of a European Championship final, but Sunday`s showpiece encounter against France will be a role reversal for them.
As a teenager, Cristiano Ronaldo made his way into the Portuguese starting XI, then led by Luis Figo, but suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Greece in the Euro 2004 final.
This time around, Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo and veteran centre-back Ricardo Carvalho are the only survivors in the Portugal squad, looking to erase 12-years of anguish with a victory over hosts France.
Having been criticized for their performances thus far in the tournament, Portugal wont their first game in 90 minutes' time in the semi-finals (a 2-0 win over Wales). Coincidentally, Greece too were the subject of constant criticism in 2004, scraping through tough matches before getting their name engraved on the European Championship trophy.
As hosts, France will be under pressure to lift the trophy on home soil, but sports pundits and analysts expects them to cope with it and get the better of Portugal.
A tearful Ronaldo and his distraught team-mates were stunned by their failure in that final and must have wondered if they would ever get so close to major tournament glory again.
The countdown to the final has begun and with a few hours left to the concluding clash, Ronaldo will be hoping to have tears of joy after the final whistle rather than a repeat of the 2004 story.