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Montreal soccer fans celebrate Portugal's Euro victory over France

Portuguese soccer fans take over St Clair West Avenue after Portugal's victory over France in the Euro 2016 final match, in Toronto on Sunday, July 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima
July 11, 2016 - 5:34 AM

Montreal's Saint-Laurent Boulevard was awash in a sea of green, yellow and red Portuguese flags on Sunday as excited soccer fans spilled onto the streets to celebrate Portugal's 1-0 victory over France in the 2016 UEFA European championship.

Bars and restaurants in the Plateau neighbourhood were full to bursting during the match, while crowds gathered on sidewalks outside strained to see the televisions within.

After Portugal won the match in extra time, people surged onto the street, which was closed off for several blocks as fans of all ages waved flags, sang the Portuguese national anthem and danced to beating drums.

Montreal police officers redirected many honking, flag-draped cars through the streets adjacent to the party.

Although there were a few tense moments when team captain Cristiano Ronaldo left the game with an injury, Albano Silva said he never doubted the team would pull through.

"I knew after the last game we played, against Wales, that we were going to win," he said. "It's in our hearts, and the dream came true."

Next to him, his friend Silvio, who did not give his last name, said he would never forget the day.

"Even though we lost our superstar at the beginning of the game, we hung in there and won it," he said. "Words can't describe (the feeling)."

A few blocks over on Saint-Denis Street, French fans who had packed into L'Barouf bar left disappointed.

Florian Lay, draped in a French flag, said his team dominated the match but just didn't manage to score.

"I feel very sad, but very proud too, because I knew they gave their best until the last minute — and maybe next time we'll win," he said.

Similar Portuguese celebrations were held in other Canadian cities.

In Toronto hundreds of people flooded the sidewalks in a section of the city where many people of Portugese descent live. They cheered, chanted and waved Portugese flags.

In Vancouver, video footage posted online showed flag-waving fans in honking vehicles waving at crowds lining the city's sidewalks.

And in Edmonton cars and trucks festooned with flags honked their way up and down Jasper Avenue, the city's main street.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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