Portugal v Wales – Stade de Lyon at 20:00 live on ITV
The one remaining fairy-tale left in the European Championships, Wales, face many peoples dark horses, Portugal in the first semi final at the Stade de Lyon on Wednesday night.
This is uncharted territory for Chris Coleman’s side having not made it to a major international tournament in over 50 years, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo and co. have been here and done it before, this being their 5th semi final in their last 7 appearances at the Euro’s. An incredible record!
However, this time round it hasn’t been plain sailing for Fernando Santos’ side having battled their way through to this stage without winning any of their 5 matches in normal time. They were expected to finish top of their group but after 3 draws against Iceland, Austria and Hungary they qualified as one of the best 3rd place finishers. That should have meant a tougher draw, but A Selecção were lucky other results went their way and avoided the likes of Germany, Italy, Spain and France.
A late extra time winner against Croatia in the last 16 and a tense penalty shoot-out win over Poland in the quarter finals has set up this clash with Wales and they come into the match as 2.22 favourties. You have to think that back-to-back 120 minutes matches as well as a mentally draining penalty shoot-out may just take its toll, especially against a side who has nothing to lose.
The Dragon’s tournament has been excellent so far, already exceeding expectations on a few occasions. They topped their group over rivals England, despite losing to them, thanks to a last minute Daniel Sturridge goal, but superb performances in their wins over Slovakia and Russia has seen their confidence grow.
They then battled to a 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in a very tough match in the last 16, registering just one shot on target. Not many gave them much hope over the much fancied Belgians, but in the performance, and match, of the tournament, Wales produced.
Their 3-1 win over Belgium will have only boosted their morale and confidence even more and against a side who have yet to win in 90 minutes and who haven’t been impressive despite facing teams who are lesser on paper, the Welsh might just fancy themselves in this one. It will suit them to be underdogs once more, but I think they have been under estimated at 4.15 and offer great value on the Asian Handicap betting market.
All the talk leading into this match has been about the battle of the Galacticos, Bale and Ronaldo, the two most expensive players in the world, but both nations have proved they are more than just one-man teams. Unfortunately for Wales, one of their star performers so far, Aaron Ramsey who has 4 assists and 1 goal, will be missing through suspension, as will captain Ben Davies.
Ramsey will be a big loss but I think with their spirit, and togetherness as a squad, they can at very least take this one into extra time, but I’m hoping they will nick it in 90 minutes.
I also think there is some value on the goals market. As it has been through-out this tournament the line is 2 goals and the even money for Overs looks to big to me. Whilst only 1 of Portugal’s 5 matches saw more than 2 goals, (2 would have been losses, 2 pushes), 4 of Wales’ have seen 3 or more.
Portugal looked more attacking in their quarter final match against Poland, probably because they were chasing a goal, but looked a better side for it.
I think this game will be more open than others we have seen form Portugal so I have 2 recommendations for this one.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Wales +0.25 at 2.11 & Over 2 goals at 2.0
Prices correct at time of writing.
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