It started with many Teams But only 4 are left now.
Thursday, 7th July: Wales Vs Portugal
Gareth Bale has played down the importance of his duel with Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Wales’ Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal. Their relationship has been the subject of extreme media scrutiny, with both insisting there is no rift. They meet in Lyon on Thursday, Wales’ first semi-final at a major tournament.
The clash in Lyon will be Ronaldo’s third European Championship semi-final, and he was part of the Portugal side which lost the 2004 final to Greece. Wales manager Chris Coleman feels his players thrive as underdogs and they head to Lyon on the back of a superb 3-1 quarter-final victory over Belgium, the highest-ranked team in the tournament.
Even the most ardent Portugal fan would admit that the team have somewhat ridden their luck during the tournament so far. They’ve only won a single match in their five so far, and that through a somewhat fortunate goal in the dying minutes of extra time against Croatia. A penalty shoot-out got them to the semi-finals, however, and star man Cristiano Ronaldo will no doubt be desperate to make it to a major final again, some dozen years after losing the Euro 2004 final against Greece.
Wales have been, along with Iceland, one of the sensations of the tournament, topping Group B against expectations and beating Belgium with an exciting performance in the quarter-finals. They are the only team left in the tournament that has scored at least once in all their matches.
Friday, 8th July: France Vs Germany
Germany will be without two Mats Hummels, Mario Gomez, Sami Khedira and possibly also Bastian Schweinsteiger, potentially losing games for a side who have looked occasionally impressive going forwards but who are yet to hit the heights they reached in winning the 2014 World Cup.
France, meanwhile, has no such issues – and if they perform as they did in a devastating first half against Iceland, they should have the beating of any team in the world.France has dominated the recent history between the two sides, going 6-2-1 in their nine meetings dating back to 1990. Germany has won the only match of real significance, though, in the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals. Mats Hummels’s early header off a set piece was the difference in the cagey 1-0 victory, which helped propel Germany on its way to lifting the trophy.
France has earned its place in the semifinals, and it looked downright dominant vs. Iceland, but its road has been–relative to the other semifinalists–a cakewalk. A group with Switzerland, Romania and Albania was never going to offer much of a threat, especially with three teams able to go through (though Les Bleus did not have the easiest of times, often leaving it late), and knockout games against Ireland and Iceland are matches you’d expect the host nation to win, especially one as stacked with talent as France.
Facing Germany will require another level from Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann & Co. The Germans’ pressure can unsettle any opponent, and their tactical flexibility makes them a tough foe for which to prepare. As they showed against Slovakia, they can dominate possession, play with flair, and unlock the most parked of buses. As they showed against Italy, they can play a more disciplined and defensive-minded game.
As we see it should be a Final between Germany and Portugal. We hope thats true.