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Wales’s unbelievable run in Euro 2016 continues after a brilliant 3-1 win over a star studded Belgium side. They will be looking for another upset in the semi-final against a Portugal side who somehow made it to this stage without winning a game in 90 minutes and only being in the lead for 22 minutes in the whole tournament.
Wales’s win came at a price as Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies both picked up yellow cards to rule them out off this match. Ramsey has been instrumental in getting the Welsh to this stage. He has come up with four assists (the same amount he supplied for club team Arsenal all season). Spurs man Davies has been solid in a back three for Wales and will also be missed. Manager Chris Coleman will likely bring in Andy King and James Collins as replacements.
Portugal squeezed past Poland on penalties to grab a spot in the semi’s. Ricardo Quaresma was again the hero with the winning spot kick. Coach Fernando Santos will be without tough tackling midfielder William Carvalho through suspension. Monaco man Joao Moutinho is likely the one to come in for his place back in the starting 11.
This game will be billed as Ronaldo vs Bale, Fire vs Ice, Madeira vs Barry Island…
Although these two Real Madrid superstars will no doubt have an influence on the game, it has been some of their team mates who have stood out in the previous round. Renato Sanches’ all round display and goal against Poland has shown why Manchester United were interested in him and why Bayern Munich paid 35 million euros to secure the 18 year old. On the other end of the spectrum Hal Robson-Kanu is without a club after being let go by Reading but may have put himself in the shop window with an outstanding display against Belgium. The front man took his goal with aplomb to put Wales in the lead and his hold up play was tremendous.
While Ronaldo tried shot after shot and scorned his team mates for not producing the correct pass or cross, Bale took a more team supportive role, dropping back into midfield and helping his team mates to the sacrifice of his own glory.
“Together Stronger” is the Wales team motto and it seems to be working so far. They will however, feel the loss of Ramsey, so Bale may have to work double time. The Portuguese know that they have come this far with out playing their best football yet and it could all come together for Ronaldo and Co if, maybe, they used that Welsh motto themselves.
This one will go down to the wire. More than likely extra time and penalties.
Welsh hearts to be broken. Portugal to win on penalties again.