23 June 2021
Tonight's Portugal-France is a big one in what will be the final fixture of the group stage. Two teammates, Cristiano Ronaldo and Adrien Rabiot, will face off against each other. Not only that: the match is also a rematch from the 2016 Euro final, when CR7's team was crowned champions. In the past, there have been two meetings that took place between the Lusitanians and Transalpines that is full of Juventus history, and which was crucial to France's success.
Rewinding back to 23 June1984 - the same date as Portugal-France in 2021. The stakes were high and neither one nor the other national team had ever achieved qualification to the Euro final. Platini came into the match in splendid form, fresh from winning the Scudetto with Juve, and having ended the season as Serie A top scorer. The encounter took place in Marseille and an outcome of penalties was looming. But Michel knew how to avoid them: he had already succeeded by avoiding a shootout with Juventus the year before, when he resolved the Italian Cup final against Verona at the last minute. He succeeded again this time, with one minute to go before the final whistle. That goal proved so important that Le Roi considered it to be "more important than the two previous hat-tricks scored against Belgium and Yugoslavia".
The Juventus President and Coach were in the stands to witness yet another masterpiece by the Juventus No. 10. Intrigued even more by the fact that the match took place a few days after the Cup Winners' Cup final in Basel (pictured above). Boniperti was radiant: "After this incredible and exciting match, our victory also acquires greater value. The Portuguese have shown all their qualities. As for Platini, he put his mark on the match". Trapattoni, on the other hand, underlined how Platini "was simply exceptional" in the final.
A JUVE-INSPIRED FRANCE | 2000
Four Euro tournaments later, another Portugal-France took place: another semi-final, but this time the match was decided in extra time. The fixture was played in Belgium, in a stadium renovated just for the event, which no longer bares the tragically known name of Heysel - it is now called the King Baudouin Stadium. On the pitch, there is a bit of an old and new Juve: an ex-like Didier Deschamps, who played his 100th match for France (the first to do so for his country) in this fixture; and, of course, a decisive cog in the Juventus team at that time, Zinedine Zidane.
AN "ITALIAN" CHALLENGE
There was a lot of Italy on the field: starting with the two goalscorers who lead the match to finish in a draw in regular time: Nuno Gomes opened for Portugal, who then made his move from Benfica to Fiorentina right after that Euro, while Thierry Henry, who wore the Juventus jersey the season before, scored the equalising goal in the fixture.
ZIZOU FROM 11 METERS
A penalty was awarded in the 117th minute of the game, in a fixture that looked destined to go to penalties. It was up to Zidane to take charge of the spot kick, in what was a very unusual situation, having not previously taken any penalties for France. With Juve it had only taken place on two occasions, dating back to three years earlier: a goal against Milan (in the photo above), and a mistake against Udinese. Zizou's execution was perfect: the goalkeeper went the wrong way, the ball sailed under the crossbar and celebrations erupted in what proved to be the match ending golden goal.