Portugal 'as simple as doves and as wise as serpents' - Fernando Santos
Portugal manager Fernando Santos was proud of the savvy his side showed in defeating France in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
This has been a cagey tournament punctuated by moments of magic and it came to a fitting end at the Stade de France, where the main talking point of the opening 90 minutes was the injury that brought the Portuguese captain's night to a premature end.
Portugal proved they are more than a one-man team, though, securing a 1-0 win against favourites France through Eder's stunning extra-time strike.
Wild celebrations met the final whistle as the Portuguese clinched a first-ever major tournament, 12 years on from being overturned by unfancied Greece at the end of the European Championship they hosted.
"I've always said we're a team," Santos said after the match. "I never hide my thoughts -- I always tell my players what's on my mind.
"I've always told them we've got great talent but we need to fight more than our opponents, run more than them and be more concentrated than them. We have an amazing group. They've always believed what I told them: that we could win this."
Santos reckons the triumph in Saint-Denis did the country a world of good, and said the emotions felt among the players in the dressing room was "incredible."
"Wherever we've gone there have always been Portuguese fans. This lifted our souls," the 61-year-old said, before praising the heart Ronaldo showed as he battled with injury.
"It's hard to describe the players' emotions -- it's incredible. Our skipper put in an immense effort; he has amazing team spirit.
"Twice he tried to get back on the pitch but him being there in the dressing room and on the bench was very important for us. He believed -- just like myself -- that tonight was our night."
Though criticised for their defensive approach throughout the competition, Santos wasn't bothered by the manner in which his team secured their European triumph.
"We were as simple as doves and as wise as serpents," he concluded.
Press Association contributed to this report.
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