WILL Wales reach the final of Euro 2016? We asked in-form Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) his view on their match against Portugal.
Portugal v Wales | Wednesday 20:00 | ITV1
Well, what a tournament Wales have had. The English still talk about their Euro ‘96 semi-final and that was 20 years ago and they hosted it. Wales can and will talk about this tournament for decades whatever the result on Wednesday night, and rightly so.
Portugal on the other hand have been the bane of Euro 2016, making the semi-finals without even winning a match inside 90 minutes. Considering the talent they have at their disposal they should be playing much better football than this.
In the 90 minutes of their five games thus far, Portugal have scored just five goals and since they’ve drawn every game they’ve obviously conceded five as well. Compare that to Wales who have scored 10 and conceded five.
Key to this game is the absence of Aaron Ramsey. Many would argue he’s been the player of the tournament let alone Wales’ best player. He’s suspended due to the totting-up process, as is Ben Davies and Portugal’s linchpin in defensive midfield, William Carvalho.
Ramsey will be sorely missed. The Welsh build up play could struggle more than usual and I interpret that as meaning Gareth Bale will play more selfishly. That is not necessarily a bad thing as we’ve already seen him score three times in this tournament.
I would fancy Bale to turn Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho apart but Fernando Santos looks to have learnt from his early mistakes and has opted for Jose Fonte and Pepe at the heart of defence in both previous knockout games.
These two haven’t met since a friendly way back in 2000 so there’s little go on in that respect. Portugal are certainly poor value at 6/5. The fact that they haven’t won a game in normal time makes a mockery of that price and demands me to back Wales on the Asian Handicap +0 line at 7/4 with Netbet. The exact same market as Draw No Bet, just a little more value.
Anyone billing this game as Bale v Ronaldo ought to bore-off, there’s much more to it than that, but it remains pretty likely that one or both will find the back of the net. Skybet have enhanced both players to score to 7/1 and I’ll have a small stake on that.
Three of the Dragons’ five games have seen both sides score and both teams certainly have better attacks than defences so a few goals should be expected so I also like the look of the 16/1 boost available on Wales to win the game 2-1 in normal time. They are riding on the crest of a wave at the minute and creating an abundance of chances despite having inferior possession statistics in three of their five games.
You have to admire Portugal’s dogged determination and a saver on them to make it a hat-trick of ET and penalty shoot-out wins seems a wise decision should they once again take a game all the way.