Wales Vs Portugal: It will definitely come as a huge surprise for everyone as Portugal has qualified for semi-finals of Euros 2016 without winning a single match under 90 minutes. Also, they were successful in overcoming the likes of better ‘on-paper’ teams Croatia and Poland who were coveted as dark horses for the competition. While everyone would have thought that arguably the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo would be carrying the whole team on his shoulders, but other teammates like Nani, Quaresma and one of the world’s youngest sensations Renato Sanches, who recently signed for Bayern Munich for a hefty transfer fee also gave their significant contributions. On the other hand, Wales deserve each and every credit so far as they will play their first ever semi-final in an international competition defeating competition favourites Belgium by a 3-1 score line. Similar to Portugal, Wales hasn’t been over-reliant on Gareth Bale as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, and Robson-Kanu showed their worth to the team. Therefore, it will be worth watching that who would face the heavyweights among France and Germany in the final showdown?
Wales Vs Portugal Match Preview, Squad News and Predicted Starting XI: UEFA Euro – 06/07/2016
Portugal – Squad News
Portugal has little to worry about as their whole team (except defensive midfielder William Carvalho, currently suspended) is likely to play the semi-final match. However, Carvalho will be replaced by Porto midfielder Danilo Periera. Also, recent BVB signing Raphael Guerreiro who plays at left back is doubtful in contention to make the starting XI which only means Eliseu will retain his place.
It will be another test for Cristiano Ronaldo who has faced much criticism over his Euros performances. However, he did score 2 goals and assisted one which gave the much-needed result for Portugal to even reach this stage, he has been average for most of the time. Nevertheless, he will have another chance to become the talisman of his team. Even if he doesn’t, surely his teammates in Nani and Quaresma have to step up again. Or we can again expect another surprise from Renato Sanches who has been the best young midfielder in the competition so far.
Probable Starting Lineup: Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu, Danilo, Sanches, Mario, Moutinho, Ronaldo, Nani
Wales – Squad News
Welsh manager has already received a huge blow as he lost two crucial players – Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies to suspensions. Ramsey who currently leads the assist chart with 4 assists, sadly can’t participate in semi-final down to a rather unfortunate booking. He played a crucial part in the win over Belgium as he recorded 2 assists in a single match. However, Chris Coleman has no other option but to trust in Andy King who recently won the league with Leicester City. Similarly, West Ham star James Collins will be slotted to fill in the void created by hardworking Ben Davies who has saved his national team many times.
Apart from these two issues, the team looks perfect where Joe Allen would be expected to deputise the midfield in the absence of Ramsey. Whereas Bale will partner Robson-Kanu as both players are in hot goal scoring form and can create enough problems for Portugal defence.
Probable Starting Lineup: Hennessey, Gunter, Taylor, Collins, Chester, Williams, Allen, Ledley, King, Bale, Robson-Kanu.
Predictions: It will be a tough match for both as Portugal will look on to drag the match until penalty shootout or earn an ugly win whereas Wales will be looking on to finish the task before 90 minutes. I would be going with a 2-1 win over Wales but when one has Cristiano Ronaldo in the team, anything can happen.