Wales v Portugal Betting Preview: Momentum to see Bale and co. past Portugal to reach historic finalPublished July 6, 2016
This is certainly the weaker of the two semi-finals featuring one team, Wales, that few would have bet to make it this far, and another, Portugal, which have yet to win a game within 90 minutes during five European Championship games so far.
This Wales team has gone further than any of its predecessors and has emerged during the last few weeks as a real threat to any team in Europe. This was best demonstrated during their last game against Belgium, who were at the beginning of the tournament, number two in the FIFA world rankings.
This was arguably the greatest night in the history of Welsh football, as they won 3-1 with goals from captain Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu, a striker without a club, and substitute Sam Vokes.
However, what was more impressive was that they didn’t just scrape through during 90 minutes of ferocious defending, they surpassed Belgium in almost every department and fully deserved their historic victory.
While the focus remains on Gareth Bale, many other Wales players have shone through, including Aaron Ramsey, who will be suspended for the semi-finals, along with Ben Davies, after picking up a second yellow card. Williams has been a rock in defence and Robson-Kanu’s showed with his goal to make it 2-1 against the Belgians that he can rip apart even the most experienced defence.
Portugal have their own superstar, who, unlike his Real Madrid team-mate Bale, has severely underperformed. Ronaldo has been largely peripheral, apart from a brace against Hungary in the group stages. However, other players like Bayern Munich’s new ‘teenage’ signing Renato Sanches has exploded onto the scene, equalizing in the last game against Poland.
Nevertheless, Portugal have struggled to score without Ronaldo and have only scored more than once in one game so far. Their last two knock-out ties were won in the 117th minute against Croatia, and on penalties in the last round against Poland after tying 1-1 after extra-time couldn’t separate the two teams.
It will be a tight match with two good defences, where both will rely on moments of magic from their big players to make the difference, although Wales certainly have the greater momentum going into the game.