Portugal v Wales – Stade des Lumières at 20:00 live on ITV
Portugal have made the semi-finals of this competition for the second successive time, although this year they will hope to go one better as they set their sights on the final. There is one last hurdle to overcome first however and that is an ambitious Welsh side who have already more than exceeded peoples expectations by reaching the semis.
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It is incredible to think that Portugal are in the semi-finals of the Euros without actually winning a single match within the 90 minutes! After 3 draws in the group stages, Portugal only managed to beat Croatia in the Round of 16 3 minutes from the end of extra-time, after the game finished 0-0 after 90 minutes.
In their quarter-final tie against Poland, Portugal then beat Adam Nawałka’s side in a penalty shootout which they won 5-3. Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring early on for Poland, but Portugal equalised through youngster Renato Sanches, who drilled a shot past Lukasz Fabianksi.
Portugal scored all five of their penalties in the shootout and this will fill them with confidence should they find themselves in a similar scenario against Wales, which is certainly a possibility as I am sure this game will be a close contest.
Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t having the greatest of tournaments, but he does have 2 goals to his name which were both scored in Portugal’s thrilling 3-3 tie against Hungary in the group stage. A Ronaldo who is on form could make all the difference for Fernando Santos’ side, as this Welsh team have proved that they are not an easy team to beat and a moment of magic could well decide this tie.
Portugal will be without William Carvalho, who misses the match through suspension after picking up his second yellow card of of the tournament against Poland.
As for Wales, what a terrific job Chris Coleman has done! Having topped Group B ahead of England, Wales have since gone on to beat Northern Ireland 1-0 (Gareth McAuley OG) in the last 16 and then Belgium 3-1 in the quarter-fianls, in what was no doubt their performance of the tournament so far.
After going a goal down as a result of Nainggolan’s unstoppable strike from distance, Wales fought back and managed to equalise before half-time courtesy of a header from captain Ashley Williams. Hal Robson-Kanu then gave his side the lead in the second half with an incredible turn inside the box, before slotting the ball past Thibaut Courtois.
Sam Vokes added the icing to the cake in the 86th minute with a magnificent header from a cross, which gave the Belgium keeper no chance!
Two huge blows from a Welsh perspective however are that Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies are both suspended, having picked up their second booking of the Euros. Ramsey has been one of the players of the tournament to date and so it will be interesting to see how Wales hold up without the Arsenal midfielder.
As for the result of this game, I think it will be a tight encounter and therefore we are likely to see extra-time. However, Wales will be brimming with confidence and their passion is unquestionable, so despite being the clear underdogs, I wouldn’t rule out another famous victory for Chris Coleman’s side. I recommend backing Wales +0.25 on the Asian Handicap betting market, as if the game hasn’t been decided within the 90 minutes, half the profit will be returned and if Wales do manage to beat Portugal in normal time, you’ll see full profit.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Wales +0.25 @ 2.11 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.