This is the fifth time Portugal has reached this stage of UEFA Euro while they have made it to the finals only once in 2004.
Wales, on the other hand, will look to script history like Leicester City did in the Premier League two months back. Wales have become the first Euro debutants to reach semi-finals since Sweden in 1992 and they will only want to add to their glorious run.
This is going to be the first competitive meet between Portugal and Wales. They have faced each other thrice in the history of the game but all in friendlies and Portugal have won two of them.
In 1949, Portugal beat Wales 3-2 and they won 3-0 against Wales recently in 2000. The only time Wales has defeated Portugal was in 1950 by 2-1.
The game is being touted as a battle between the two Real Madrid forwards, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale but Bale disagreed with the individualistic hype and said, “It’s Portugal versus Wales, nothing more.” He added that it wasn’t about the two players but about two nations; it’s eleven versus eleven.”
The forms of both Bale and Ronaldo are extremely crucial for the performance of their teams. While Bale is known for running hard and tirelessly working upfront, Ronaldo can be lethal at any instant.
In the Euro 2016, Bale has three goals to his credit, out of which two have come from free-kicks while Ronaldo registered two against Hungary in Portugal’s final group game.
Also Bale seems to be better in terms of accuracy as he has 14 out of 21 shots on target while Ronaldo got merely 9 on target out of the 36 shots he has taken till now.
Considering the emphasis on the team play, the statistics show that Ronaldo’s pass completion rate is 86.6 per cent while Bale stands at 69.3 per cent.
Ronaldo is also ahead of Bale in terms of chances created with 8 in his kitty while Bale has created 4 chances. Ronaldo also provided an assist in the Round of 16 game against Croatia while Bale hasn’t made any assist as yet.
Though Bale and Ronaldo are extremely crucial to the success of their teams, there are surely other players who have shown their mettle in Euro.
Renato Sanches, the young lad of Portugal, showed his capabilities in the quarter-final with his spectacular equaliser and he even kept his nerves through the penalties. Other than Sanches, Nani has been instrumental in the chances that Portugal has created all tournament.
For Wales, the suspension of Aaron Ramsey is definitely a point of worry but the third string of the three heads of Wales, Joe Allen, might just take the centre stage. Also, Welsh captain Ashley Williams has been very clinical on the pitch.
It may or may not Bale versus Ronaldo, but the game will definitely be a nail-biter. Welsh defence has been compact till now, while Portugal has been displaying good skills in creating spaces and penetrating the opposition’s half.
It would be interesting to see if Portugal can finally register a victory in 90 minutes of game play or Wales will crush another favourite to dream on.