EURO 2016

Euro 2016 winners Portugal receive heroes' welcome in Lisbon

After a night of celebration, Portugal's European champions led by Cristiano returned home to a rapturous welcome on Monday and a country overjoyed by their upset win over France.

Euro 2016 winners Portugal receive heroes' welcome in Lisbon
STRINGER REUTERS

After a night of rowdy celebrations Portugal's European champions led by Cristiano Ronaldo returned home to a heroes' welcome on Monday and a country overjoyed by their upset win over France.

Tens of thousands of fans took over the streets of Lisbon waving red and green national flags to mark the historic victory set up by substitute Eder's extra-time goal that stunned the host country on Sunday night in the final of Euro 2016.

Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo, who was stretchered off injured and crying early in the game, hugged the trophy on the special flight that took the Portuguese team home.

Two fire trucks sprayed jets of water in green and red over the plane as it taxied to the airport terminal as thousands of fans waited to greet the team who won Portugal's first international trophy.

Portugal's winning EURO 2016 team plane taxies on return to LisbonPortugal's winning EURO 2016 team plane passes under an honorary arch from fire hoses as it taxies on the runway on return to Lisbon, Portugal, July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Ronaldo and coach Fernando Santos were first to emerge with the trophy. Man-of-the-match defender Pepe carried the prize down the steps, where the 23-man squad boarded an open-top bus to start a victory parade.

After meeting President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the 23-man squad were to go on a tour of the capital.

Luis Figo, who captained Portugal in that agonising defeat in Lisbon 12 years ago, congratulated the team on Twitter. "CHAMPIONS! The greatest! Congratulations!" the former Inter Milan, Real and Barcelona star wrote.

Portugal's sports press hailed the team with headlines including "Epic", "Eternal" and "Pride of Portugal". Portugal's coach Santos and the other players paid tribute to Ronaldo's role in urging the team not to give up.

The tournament, expanded to 24 teams for the first time, produced a few memorable upsets but little in the way of classic football.