The stage is set for the Euro2016 semi-final fixture later on this evening, the first competitive game between the two nations, the previous three meetings all being friendly fixtures, the greatest of underdog fixtures is brewing up at Stade de Lyon, every single moment ready to explode, like a volcano ready to erupt.
All eyes will be on Real Madrid teammates Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal take on Wales for a place in the European Championships Final. The two come up against each other for the first time on the international scene only a month after they won the champions league a second time in three years for their club.
Gareth Bale has been the main focus of attention after scoring 2 stunning free kicks in the group stages, making him the second highest scorer with 3 goals with his 13 attempts on goal putting him at the top of the shooting charts. Cristiano Ronaldo on the other hand hasn’t quite turned up and lived up to his legacy as far as goals are concerned, scoring only two in 36 attempts at goal a conversion success rate of 5.6% opposed to Bale’s three goals in 21 attempts at goal. but Ronaldo has been key to Portugal’s thus far being involved in ¾ of their goals with two key assists.
Wales unlike Portugal does not play like a one-man team, they’re like a band of brothers inspired by divided we fall. They come in match with good fetal scoring 10 goals second to Hosts France who scored 11, losing only to England in the entire competition. They came to the competition as underdogs competing on a major tournament for the first time since 1958 where they lost to Brazil in the quarterfinal.
Portugal on the other hand have failed to win a single game in 90 minutes going through on penalties and a 117th minute goal by Ricardo Quaresma, heavily depending on their star talisman Ronaldo who has led their attack throughout the competition. They play and rely on a one-man game, which has seen them through thus far, scoring only 6 goals in the process, four of which were directly involved with Ronaldo. With a string of mediocre players, especially defensively, it is a miracle that Portugal has made it this far in the competition.
A lot will be at stake when the two sides meet, Wales are aiming to reach their first major tournament final with a win over Portugal, for the Selecao, appearing for the fifth time in this stage of the competition, having played the most games in the history of the tournament without winning, they will look to overturn their fortunes and hope to reach the final. Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to replicate his club brilliance to win a trophy for his country, at 31 this could be the last chance playing at a high level to climax a glittering career and cement his place in the puncheon of greats.
Portugal won their last meeting 3-0 but that was back in 2000 when Gareth Bale was only 11 and Ronaldo was just a teenager in Sporting. Both teams will do without key players in Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and William Carvalho.