Portugal v Wales Betting Tip Draw, Euro 2016 Betting

Another draw for Portugal...?

Nani (Portugal)

Portugal v Wales

Wednesday 6th July 2016 Kickoff 2000hrs

Football – European Championships – International

The first semi-final of Euro 2016 takes place  in Lyon on Wednesday and it’s probably not the clash you would have expected following the group stage. Portugal and Wales will meet for a place in Sunday’s final after two very different passages to this point. Despite having a plethora of talent to call upon, including one of the best players to ever play the game, have not won a game yet and only qualified as one of the best third placed teams. Wales, on the other hand, have been a breath of fresh air at this tournament with a much more modest group of players at this disposal – with the exception of one, of course. Nevertheless, finals football is such that nothing else matters other than the next game and everything is very much to play for.

Portugal continued their no-frills approach to these Championships with another dogged display against Poland in the quarter finals. Despite trailing in the opening minutes from Robert Lewandowski’s only goal of the tournament, Fernando Santos’ team equalised before half-time thanks to a wonderful goal from teenage sensation Renato Sanches. Although the first half promised so much, the rest of the game, including extra time, was largely forgettable (a common theme in games involving Portugal) and ended up going to penalties. Unlike past penalty shootouts when Cristiano Ronaldo has opted to hit the fifth spot kick, he led by example and effortlessly slotted his team into the lead. Following a miss from Poland’s fourth penalty, Ricardo Quaresma had the opportunity to send his nation to their fourth European Championship semi-final in five tournaments and he never disappointed. Their style of play certainly leaves a lot to be desired but it has thus far proven to be effective and they are now favourites to reach Sunday’s final.

Few people gave Wales a chance (myself included) of beating a Belgium team who looked as though they were just hitting top gear after their dismantling of Hungary in the previous game. The only people that mattered, however, were Chris Coleman and his players and staff, and they showed everybody just how much belief they had by seeing off their more illustrious opponents 3-1. The result was made even more impressive as they had to recover from a goal down but they never looked back after that. Goals from their captain Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes saw Wales clinch their best ever result and at the same time, set up what will be the biggest match in Welsh football history on Wednesday. Gareth Bale grabs so much of the headlines for this team, and rightly so considering his influence, but the efforts of the whole team cannot be underestimated. The defence had to withstand a lot of pressure in the second half whilst the midfield and forwards worked tirelessly throughout. It’s not just a stubborn team full of spoilers, though, this team can play. Seven of their 10 goals at this tournament have come from open play and some of those goals have been of the highest quality.

It was only the second start of the competition for Renato Sanches against Poland, but the player who has recently joined Bayern Munich from Benfica has certainly done enough to earn a place in the semi final line-up in front of some more experienced campaigners. In addition to his goal, Sanches provided real energy to Portugal’s midfield and that will be crucial considering his manager’s preference for playing compact football. Nani and Ronaldo can often become isolated in that type of system so his inclusion will be vital when the Portuguese are in possession.  Joao Mario – who has himself been linked with a move to one of Europe’s big clubs – has not had the influence many expected after a terrific season for Sporting Lisbon, and will be looking to become more influential in this game.

Although the sheer euphoria of beating Belgium and reaching the semi final would have topped anything for the nation of Wales on Friday night, the win did come at a cost. Bookings for both Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies mean that they will be unavailable for the match with Portugal, and both have been excellent throughout this tournament. Ramsey has been involved in so many of the Welsh’s attacks that it will be virtually impossible to replace, so it may see a slight change in system from Coleman. Whilst Davies’ reading of the game and dependability in the left side of the three man defence has been key, it’s likely that the manager will look to keep the back three, which has worked so well for him up until now.

Portugal v Wales Betting Tips

Although the main focus has very much been on the clash between two nations who have already surpassed expectation by getting to this stage, there is also another story to the match up. Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are two of the most expensive players in history and also happen to be colleagues at Real Madrid. A little over a month ago they were teaming up to win the biggest club prize in European football – now they are competing again each other as they try to lead their respective countries to European glory. Ronaldo has never been one to share the limelight with someone from his own team, let alone being upstaged by a club team-mate on the opposition, so he will be desperate to be the focal point on Wednesday.

The semi-final is much more than a battle between Ronaldo and Bale, of course, but it’s hard to imagine that either of the stars will have a better chance of international glory than the one that presents itself tomorrow. Portugal were beaten finalists as host nation back in 2004 and are vastly more experienced at this level than their opponents. Wales, however, have played the whole tournament without any fear and they should certainly not fear Portugal, considering their performance against Belgium last week.

Had Ramsey and Davies been fit then I would be strong on Wales to continue their progression such has been the performances of both teams up until this point. Factoring in their absences then you would lean towards Portugal but have they done enough in the competition to convince you to back them in the 90 minutes? Not for me. With so much at stake I sense that both managers will approach the opening stages cautiously (as if Santos is capable of anything else) and it’s easy to see this one going all the way. I hope Wales can make it all the way to the final on Sunday but the selection here is a draw after 90 minutes.

Draw 11/5 @ Boylesports

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