Wales (Dan Eales)
As if we all didn’t know it already, we are witnessing history unfold and I think its beyond doubt now, Wales can actually win the Euros. After beating Belgium with such confidence and conviction, I can’t see many reasons why Wales can’t do exactly the same to Portugal – who have been less than convincing, and set up a date in Paris this Sunday.
A lot of talk has revolved around the clash of the titans, Bale vs Ronaldo. Yes, its blatantly obvious either can win a game single handily, but as we have seen throughout this tournament, a team with unity most nearly almost triumphed over a team of individuals. Ronaldo’s astronomical confidence and arrogance could be his, and Portugal’s downfall. It is the exact opposite of this that has led to Bale rolling up his sleeves and putting in the graft just as much as any other Welsh player. He has hounded defenders, tracked back countless times and not been afraid to put in a tackle or two. This cannot be said for Ronaldo, his unwillingness to partake in the nitty gritty side of play only emphasises his own inflated importance within the Portugal side. In contrast Bale seem to truly believe in the age old saying of ‘there is no I in team’.
As I said previously, I can’t see many reasons why Wales can’t beat Portugal, but there is one. Despite their success, the road to the semi finals has resulted in some of Wales’ key players picking up suspensions. Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies will both miss the game and will be big blows. It will most likely be James Collins filling in on the left of the three central defenders. I am intrigued to see who Coleman selects to replace Ramsey. Its possible Andy King could get the nod, however I have been very impressed with Jonny Williams when he has came off the bench. The young Crystal Palace player presses high and also possesses the exciting ability to wriggle past his man and create openings.
Prediction: Portugal 1 – 2 Wales
Games like this probably won’t come around again, for this set of Welsh players anyway. So I fully expect them to give blood, sweat and tears in this one. After his crafty goal last Friday I fancy Hal Robson-Kanu to bag an important goal again. After all, he does sell more dummies than Mothercare.
Portugal (Scott Brotherton)
Unfortunately Scott is currently on holiday.