Euro Cup Semifinals Wales vs Portugal
As the first team since the 1992 Swedish squad to reach the last four in this competition, Wales is certainly the underdog to win this game. However, don’t be fooled into believing it’ll be easy pickings for Portugal. In fact, Wales arguably comes in better form than their opponents who haven’t won yet at the 90 minute mark in any of the games they’ve played. Who will win? Keep reading for more details.
- Time: Wednesday, July 6, 3:00 PM ET
- Place: Stade des Lumieres
Bet on Portugal
Portugal’s road to the semis hasn’t been pretty. Now facing one of the Cinderella teams doesn’t help them either. Though Coach Fernando Santos claims not to be too worried about being the ugly duckling of the competition, it certainly could be a factor on player’s minds which might affect their performance.
Portugal once again however, has shown to be a squad full of determination and grit albeit not winning any of their matches impressively. And, although Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been particularly all too impressive as of late, such a dangerous player can turn things around at the turn of a dime and he could produce a slew of goals at any point in time given the shot.
Portugal will be missing the services of William Carvalho, who was yellow-carded in their match against Poland during the quarter-finals. Another player which could miss this match is defender Pepe, who missed training on Monday with an ailing hamstring problem.
Portugal starting 11: Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu, Danilo, Sanches, Mario, Moutinho, Ronaldo, Nani
Bet on Wales
As mentioned above, Wales is the underdog entering this match. This gives them the relative advantage of not having the same pressure to win as other countries that’ve been in this spot before. Perhaps, and especially with so much riding on Ronaldo’s shoulders, it gives Wales some tactical advantages that manager Chris Coleman could exploit.
In beating Northern Ireland, Russia, Slovakia and recently world No. 2 Belgium, Wales has momentum on their side and could give them an edge over their opponents. This team spirit has carried Wales to this point and could allow them to break Portugal’s defenses as the better squad.
So far, Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale has shone as the Wales’ motor. If he can rally the team in this match, it might even outweigh the presence of his Madrid counterpart Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Welsh team will have to do without Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey, both of which were handed their second yellow card in the match against Belgium. James Collins and Andy King are expected to fill in respectively in their absence, but it might open up some holes on defense.
Wales starting 11: Hennessey, Gunter, Collins, Williams, Chester, Taylor, King, Allen, Ledley, Bale, Robson-Kanu
- It’s the first competitive match between these two squads. All three previous games have been friendlies. Their three previous head-to-heads have produced 11 goals, whilst Wales are yet to keep a clean sheet against Portugal.
- Portugal have reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in seven EURO participations. In fact, since their first EURO in 1984, only Germany have made the last four on more occasions (6) than Portugal.
- Portugal have played the most games in the history of the European Championships without ever winning the tournament: 33 games, 0 trophy. Their only EURO final ended in a 1-0 defeat against Greece in 2004.
Game Predictions: Wales surprises and wins 2-1.