Euro 2016 Final Preview: Is it just Griezmann vs Ronaldo or much more?
Mid-day previews the exciting finale of the Euro 2016 that will see Ronaldo's Portugal look to rewrite history and Griezmann's France revisit France's 1984 triumph on home soil
When France take on Portugal in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday at Stade de France, it will be more than two nations meeting on a football pitch. It will also be two teams looking to create a legacy and make history.
While one team wants to erase memories of an old Euro final, the other wants to recreate a magical night from a past Euro finale on home soil.
But for two players on opposing sides, it will be something more.
Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo are being cast as rival superheros ahead of the tournament final.
Ronaldo and Greizmann. Pic/AFP
Striker Griezmann is fast becoming a France legend after his two goals against Germany fired the hosts into Sunday's Euro 2016 final.
Amid the controversial absence of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, France have found a new hero in the diminutive striker. With six goals already in his first European Championships, Griezmann is only three short of equalling Platini's record of nine goals at the 1984 tournament.
But when the 25-year-old Atletico Madrid forward takes the field on Sunday it will not be just to help France win, but also to take revenge for the defeat inflicted by Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
In the Champions League final in May, Griezmann missed a first-half penalty for Atletico. City rivals Real capitalised to win their 11th European title in Milan.
The French forward would be relishing this chance to rectify his mistake and deny Real's Ronaldo a chance to secure one of the few trophies he still lacks -- a major finals title with Portugal.
Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been chasing elusive international glory without success for a long time. But it can change on Sunday if Ronaldo-led Portugal go on and win Euro 2016 final in Paris.
Who is better, Ronaldo or Messi? It's an endless debate among fans of two greatest footballers in the planet.
Both won almost everything there is to be won in club football but at the international level Messi and Ronaldo are yet to win a single trophy.
Last week, Messi missed a penalty during a shootout in the Copa America final against Chile, which was his fourth loss in international finals in Argentinan colours. The failure to win finals prompted the great Messi to announce international retirement.
Ronaldo, on the other hand has had lesser success with only one final and two semi-finals in Portugese jersey.
However, Ronaldo has the chance to achieve international glory, perhaps his last chance as Portugal made it to the final of Euro 2016 and await the winner of France and Germany.
If Ronaldo delivers on Sunday to help Portugal lift the Euro 2016 cup, he will finally accomplish his dream of winning a big tournament in national colours, a feat that Messi may never achieve, if the latter stays out of international football for good.
Portugal and Ronaldo will also go into Sunday's final seeking to erase their football nightmare of losing the Euro 2004 final on home ground to unheralded Greece.
But can he do it?
KEY PLAYERS FROM BOTH SIDES:
Here are some of the star performers from the two teams who will have to fire on sunday for their side to win.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (France)
Has conceded just four goals in six matches. Was brilliant vs Germany in the semi-final.
Defender Bacary Sagna (France)
He has looked solid at the back.
Defender Pepe (Portugal)
He may be injured and Portugal will be hoping he's back to 100 per cent in the final.
Defender Laurent Koscielny (France)
He has been very consistent at the heart of the French defence.
Defender Patrice Evra (France)
A very accomplished defender who has provided much-needed leadership in this youthful team.
Midfielder William Carvalho (Portugal)
He's had an impressive tournament and will be important to Portugal if they want to control the midfield in the final.
Midfielder Paul Pogba (France)
Has been effective, but not great. Scored an excellent goal against Iceland in the quarter-final and was good vs Germany in the semi.
Midfielder Renato Sanches (Portugal)
He has shined brightly at times. But needs to be more controlled.
Forward Dimitri Payet (France)
Was superb in the group stages and has continued to impress, especially with in combo with Greizmann.
Striker Antoine Griezmann (France)
The player of the tournament and the top scorer with six goals. The dimunitive striker has inspired the team with brilliance. He has been dubbed 'Grizou' in France.
Striker Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
The Portugal legend scored the most amazing back-heel goal against Hungary shows his genius. He has scored three goals in the tournament, including the opener against Wales. He has to inspire Portugal to a win on Sunday.
FRANCE: Last 20 matches, 15 win, 1 draw, 4 loss, Win rate:75%
PORTUGAL: Last 20 matches, 10 win, 5 draw, 5 loss, Win rate:50%
The two sides had met in the European Championships – in 1984 and 2000. Both these clashes were in the semifinals and both the editions saw France being crowned Champions. Interestingly, both the ties were won by France in the added extra time.