Euro 2016: Wales set for historic semi-final with Portugal

6 hours ago From the sectionFootball 117


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Wales beat Belgium to reach their first semi-final at a major tournament

Portugal v Wales

Date: Wednesday, 6 July Venue: Stade de Lyon, Lyon Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and text commentary online & on BBC Sport app

Wales are preparing for the biggest game in their history when they play Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday for a place in the final of Euro 2016.
Chris Coleman’s side have already enjoyed a memorable run to reach their first semi-final at their only major tournament since 1958.
England were the last British team to reach the final of a World Cup or European Championship 50 years ago.
“We’ll be the underdogs, but we believe in each other,” said manager Coleman.
Jonathan Ford, chairman of the Football Association of Wales, told BBC Sport: “It is history in the making, it’s a dream come true.
“These players will run through brick walls for us. This has been a fantastic demonstration of team spirit, team morale, teamwork.
“Sport and culture are the two things that really help us define Wales and the Welsh people.”
More than half of Wales’ population of three million are expected to watch their country take on regular European semi-finalists Portugal – eclipsing the national television record for a sporting event, which was only set on Friday for their 3-1 quarter-final victory over Belgium.
The Prince of Wales sent the team a “huge good luck” message, saying: “I’m sure they have got a very good chance of beating Portugal. Everyone here will be keeping their fingers crossed.”
The team is the star – Gareth Bale

Portugal v Wales team news

Watch: Wales beat Belgium to reach last four

Prince Charles
“Everyone will be keeping their fingers crossed”

Can they do it?
Ranked a record low of 117 in the world in August 2011, Wales could end the tournament in the top six, having won four of their five games so far at Euro 2016.
They beat Slovakia and Russia in the group stages, with their only defeat a last-minute 2-1 loss to England. They knocked out Northern Ireland 1-0 in the last 16 before overcoming Belgium – the highest ranked side at the tournament – to set up the meeting with Portugal.
However, they will be without influential midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who is suspended for Wednesday’s game.
The Arsenal player has been hugely influential for Wales, scoring one goal and providing four assists, and was man of the match against the Belgians. Defender Ben Davies is also banned.
“Some of Aaron Ramsey’s performances have been off the chart,” Coleman said. “Davies’ performances have been outstanding. Both players would be a loss to any team.
“But the attitude of the players who haven’t played has been fantastic and that has kept the dressing room really strong and kept the vibe really positive.”

Euro 2016: Sir Alex Ferguson says Wales’ progress is fantastic

The opposition
Captained by Cristiano Ronaldo, one of football’s all-time greatest players, Portugal are preparing for their seventh major semi-final and fourth in the past five Euros.
They drew all three group games before beating Croatia 1-0 after extra time in the last 16 and then edging Poland 5-3 on penalties in the quarter-finals.
Bale versus Ronaldo
Ronaldo v Bale

Gareth Bale has scored one more goal at Euro 2016 than Cristiano Ronaldo, whose two goals came in the 3-3 draw with Hungary in the group stage

All eyes will be on two players on Wednesday – Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Real Madrid team-mates are seen as the talismen for their respective sides. Bale has three goals at Euro 2016 while Ronaldo has two.
Bale became the world’s most expensive footballer when he joined Real from Tottenham for £85m in 2013, surpassing the £80m the Spanish club paid Manchester United for Ronaldo four years earlier.
Their relationship has been the subject of intense media scrutiny, with both insisting there is no rift.
“Of course we get on very well at Madrid, we enjoy playing with each other,” Bale, 26, said.
“He’s a fantastic player, everybody knows what he can do. But we have always spoken about what we do, what we do ourselves as a team. We don’t worry about the opposition.”
Infographic: Bale v Ronaldo – who has the edge?

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo

Bale has collected three major trophies in his career, compared to 12 for Ronaldo

The stats you need to know
Portugal have played the most games (33) in the history of the European Championship without ever winning the tournament

Cristiano Ronaldo is one goal short of France legend Michel Platini’s record of nine goals in the competition

Ronaldo has failed to score with any of his 41 direct free-kicks at seven World Cups and Euros from 2004 to 2016

Gareth Bale has scored with two of the five direct free-kicks he has attempted with Wales at Euro 2016

Bale has had more shots on target than any other player at Euro 2016 (14) – he has scored with three of them

Only France have scored more goals (11) than Wales (10) at Euro 2016

How many Welsh will be there?
Wales are expected to be backed by more than 20,000 fans in Lyon, with fans travelling by road, sea and air to be a part of their nation’s moment of history.
There are concerns some fans could be hit by French air traffic control strikes, days after hundreds of Wales supporters were affected by Eurotunnel delays before their quarter-final.
If Wales do beat Portugal, they will face either hosts France or world champions Germany in the Euro 2016 final at the Stade de France on Sunday.