There was a moment, deep in the second half, when Cristiano Ronaldo surged back to his own penalty area and began to bark out orders.
Rui Patricio, the Wolves goalkeeper, was on the end of a lecture, as were a number of Portugal’s defenders, including the outstanding Ruben Dias. Given they had just made the breakthrough, the message Ronaldo was putting across was clear: this does not slip.
Ronaldo will never forget the pain he went through in 2004, when Portugal lost at home in the final of the European Championships to Greece, and he had no intention of going through a similar experience. This may be a new – often derided – tournament, but it how he wanted to win it.
Cristiano Ronaldo hoisted the UEFA Nations League trophy aloft as the celebrations began for the hosts in Porto
Ronaldo carried off another piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet after the narrow 1-0 victory in Porto
There were euphoric celebrations from Ronaldo, Silva and Co to contrast with the Dutch despair at full time
Goncalo Guedes celebrated breaking the deadlock as Portugal turned their early second-half pressure into a goal
The midfielder rifled his effort on goal past the despairing dive of Daley Blind and the flimsy wrist of Jasper Cillessen
Virgil van Dijk led the inquiry after Holland fell behind and their stubborn defence was finally breached by the hosts
Portugal: Patrício, Semedo, Fonte, Dias, Guerreiro, Fernandes (Moutinho), Danilo, Carvalho, Silva, Ronaldo, Guedes (Silva)
Unused substitutes: Cancelo, Sousa, Jota, Malheiro de Sá, Neves, Rui, Fernandes, Beto, Felix
Goals: Guedes (60)
Holland: Cillessen, Dumfries, de Ligt, van Dijk, Blind, de Roon (de Jong), de Jong, Wijnaldum, Bergwijn (van der Beek), Depay, Babel (Promes)
Unused substitutes: Hateboer, Aké, Pröpper, van Aanholt, Vermeer, de Vrij, Strootman, Vilhena, Bizot
And how he enjoyed it. Then again, they all did. Portugal – the reigning European Champions, remember – worked over time to grind out a victory that was secured thanks to Goncalo Guedes’s 60th minute drive. For all their huff and puff, Holland couldn’t get near them.
‘They are the masters of a defending a lead,’ Ronald Koeman, the beaten head coach, said ruefully.
Few could begrudge Portugal this triumph. They were the only team in the top tier of qualifying to go through the group stages unbeaten and the thrilling way they beat Switzerland 3-1 here in the semi-finals was the standout performance of the finals.
Hosting the tournament is a responsibility the Portuguese have taken seriously and the mood outside the stadium beforehand was in keeping with a final – with local fans were hanging off walls and lamp-posts to see the team bus arrive.
Once inside, though, it was impossible not to see the amount of empty seats dotted around the stadium. There was also a large section of England fans, who made themselves noticed with banners and boos for Virgil van Dijk every time he touched the ball.
Bernardo Silva leapt in the air and celebrated emphatically next to the scorer, who was substituted soon after
The shot had plenty of power and pace on it but the Dutch will reflect that it should not have breached their rearguard
Ronaldo offered some congratulatory words to his team-mate as the Portuguese grabbed a deserved lead
Bruno Fernandes (right) dictated play and was the shining light for Portugal as they took control of the first half
It was a curious atmosphere – the initial fervour of the home fans blew out – and it was not helped by the way the game unfolded. This was more like chess, with both sides patiently plotting their way around the pitch as they looked for avenues to exploit.
Portugal had the better opportunities before the break and their standout performer was Bruno Fernandes, the Sporting Lisbon midfielder who continues to be linked to Manchester City. He is all class, that is for sure, and he stamped his presence quickly on the contest.
Fernandes had the first shot of the game in the 11th minute – a stinging drive that Holland keeper Jesper Cillisen turned away – and he followed up with a glorious back-heel to set up another counter-attack. It was a rare moment of ingenuity, as the two sides cancelled each other out.
Van Dijk looked solid as usual in the heart of the Holland defence and thwarted the Portuguese before the break
Ronaldo managed to get his shot away from the edge of the box under the attentions of Matthijs de Ligt
Bernardo Silva took evasive action as Holland goalkeeper Cillessen came out to claim the ball
Despite Portugal having home advantage, there was a loud Dutch contingent who had made the trip for the final
All the talk before had been of the showdown between Van Dijk and Ronaldo but the only time they squared up was in the 28th minute when the Liverpool defender comfortably turned away a half-volley. Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt remained in control and you could Ronaldo getting frustrated.
Had Holland boasted a top striker, the outcome may have been different but they were limited to attempts from set pieces and the only moment they launched a counterattack, Jose Fonte did a supreme job to marshal the scurrying advances of Steven Bergwijn.
Thankfully, there was a better flow to the contest in the second period. Nobody wanted extra-time or penalties and they were committed to finding a breakthrough; the positivity led to spaces opening and you always felt the first goal would be decisive.
Jose Fonte powered a header towards goal as Ronaldo was brought to ground in a challenge just outside the six yard box
Steve Bergwijn reacted to a missed opportunity by holding his head in his hands during a frustrating first half
Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum showed his ability in tight spaces to shake off William Carvalho and Fernandes
Ronaldo showed flashes of what he was capable of early in the match but was well marshalled by Frenkie de Jong and Co
In the 60th minute, Portugal surged forward and the driving force behind the move was Bernardo Silva. The Manchester City midfielder was named player of the tournament and his skill, vision and determination paved the way for Guedes; Cillesen got a hand to the shot but it wasn’t enough.
The way Portugal’s bench celebrated suggested they knew they had done enough and so it proved. At the final whistle, the celebrations were even more frantic and Ronaldo crowned them with an ostentatious trophy lift. He was in his element. They all were.
‘Holland are a huge team with tremendous potential,’ said Portugal head coach Fernando Santos. ‘But this will leave a lasting mark in our football history. If we look back on Euro 2016, some of the players are no longer with us. This team is a team for the future.’
The Dutch came through against England but could not get over the line against the better side in the Nations League final
Portugal are now European champions and UEFA Nations League champions in a golden period for the country
No doubt the party will go long into the night and the players can begin their break ahead of pre-season in a few weeks