Euro 2016: Portugal sends Wales home and heads to Paris

7 Jul

1Not the most riveting match ever, to be fair, but Cristiano Ronaldo had an excellent day – A goal, a tied record with Michel Platini and a ticket to Paris.

July 6, 2016
Stade de Lyon
Portugal 2- 0 Wales

Portugal:
Rui Patricio, Raphael, Fonte, Bruno Alves, Cedric, Danilo, Adrian Silva (Jao Moutinho, 79’) Renato Sanches (Andre Gomes, 74’), Jao Mario, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani (Quaresma, 86’)

Wales:
Hennessey, A.Williams, Collins (Williams, 66’) Chester, N. Taylor, Gunter, King, Ledley (Vokes, 58’) Allen, Bale, Robson-Kanu (Church, 63’)

This first semi-final saw teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale meet and sadly only one could go away happy. Both teams spent most of the first half playing with caution and concern. It made for a very slow half as each team seemed more concerned with not making any mistakes than actually scoring. Portugal had much more possession than Wales but neither could break the deadlock.

The only bit of real excitement happened within the first ten minutes. Williams took down Ronaldo in the box but no penalty was called. The ref seemed to say that Williams got the ball but the replays were not definitive. And Allen was booked within six minutes after a rough foul on Nani.2For the next twenty-five minutes or so, caution ruled the day. Bale had a few shots but they were either over the net or right to the keeper. Ronaldo too had a few nice shots but nothing really challenged the Welsh keeper. Sanches had some nice touches on the ball but he was unable to really create anything of substance. And the half closed scoreless.3By halftime, it was clear just how much Wales was missing the play of Ramsay who was out on suspension.

The second half was a different story. Ronaldo had a beautiful goal in the 50th minute, which ties him with Platini for all time European Championship goals. Rafael got the ball after a short corner and delivered it perfectly. Ronaldo seemed to hang in the air forever and delivered it home.

Here’s the clip:

4

5Just lovely.

Nani’s goal was not as pretty but it came a few minutes later and clearly he benefitted from Wales being rattled after Ronaldo’s goal. But fair play to him.6And sadly, Wales ran out of answers. Bale had a few more shots but again, they all seemed to land rather easily for the Portuguese keeper or in one case, slammed right into the wall of protective players.
7Nani nearly had a shot at a third goal but Hennessey was able to save it.
8This was a rough way for Wales to go out but they had a tremendous run and their fans should be proud. I look forward to seeing them in the future!
9And so, Portugal are through to the finals Sunday in Paris. While I’m happy for the team, I hope they can show their best in the final against either Germany or France. It would be good to watch Sanches and Ronaldo at their best for the final. This cautious play have gotten them to the final but I hope their fans can see a team effort with a bit more flair. They, team and fan base alike, deserve it.

10

– ForzaSusan

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