I wouldn’t call myself a soccer fan.
It’s never been a sport I’ve followed back home, but how can you not when you’re travelling in Europe during the Euro 2016 tournament. Once realising we would be in Lisbon for the finals, Fiona and I began cheering on the Portuguese and boy were we excited (and a little shocked) when they qualified for the final against France.
The hype began early in the day. Portugese flags and Ronaldo football tops were sold in every second store. As the day progressed, more and more people began gathering in the city centre as they prepared for the game.
There was not a chance we were going to miss out on mingling with the locals on this one. We followed the sea of red and green along the streets as we marched towards the town square to watch the game on the big screen.
The crowd remained quiet as they nervously watched their country take on the favourites. Further silence engulfed the crowd as Ronaldo, their number one player, was carried off the field via stretcher after injuring his knee.
90 minutes came to a close and we were still yet to see a goal.
0 – 0. We were going into overtime!
The first 15 minutes passed. Still 0 – 0.
The crowd remained silent as the second half of overtime began. Patiently we waited for something to happen. Anything. And then it did..
GOAL TO PORTUGAL!!
The crowd went WILD!! The sea of green and red began bobbing up and down simultaneously as they pumped their fists in the air chanting
Flares of red smoke began filling the air around us as the crowd continued to carry on the chanting. But time was not over yet.
We nervously waited for the game to finally come to its end.
Do not. Let. France. Score!
The count down began and the festivities started once again as Portugal realised they had become the Euro 2016 champions! The underdogs had done it! Fireworks of red and green shot into the sky and everyone began hugging and cheering. We couldn’t believe it.
The party continued all night and into the next day (and according to our tour guide, is likely to carry on for weeks to come). Horns and trumpets were tooted all throughout the night. Chants were cheered from apartment balconies. Portugal had done the unexpected and we were there to witness it all. How lucky were we? This will be a story we’ll tell for years to come…