Semi-final preview: Portugal v Wales
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Proven pedigree meets the darkest of dark horses on Wednesday when Portugal take on Wales with a place in Sunday's UEFA EURO 2016 final at stake.
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- Portugal tackle Wales in Lyon for a place in the final
- The winners will face either France or Germany at the Stade de France on Sunday
- This is Wales's first major semi-final; Portugal have won one of four previous semis
- Portugal have yet to win at UEFA EURO 2016 inside 90 minutes
- Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey and William Carvalho all banned; Pepe is a doubt
Portugal: Rui Patrício; Cédric, Fonte, Ricardo Carvalho, Guerreiro; Danilo, João Mário, Adrien Silva, Sanches; Nani, Ronaldo.
Out: William Carvalho (suspended)
Doubt: Pepe (thigh)
- Fernando Santos faces an anxious wait on Pepe after he picked up a thigh injury in training; Ricardo Carvalho is his likely replacement. Raphaël Guerreiro has shaken off a knock and is set to return on the left, while Danilo will come in for William Carvalho in a like-for-like switch in front of the back four.
Wales: Hennessey; Chester, Ashley Williams, Collins; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Jonathan Williams, Taylor; Bale, Robson-Kanu.
Out: Davies (suspended), Ramsey (suspended)
- For the first time in France, Chris Coleman will make enforced changes with influential duo Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey both banned. James Collins is the probable understudy for Davies, while Jonny Williams could cover for Ramsey and offer Wales an extra attacking option as opposed to a more defensive deputy.
- Follow all the build-up to the game in our MatchCentre
- Portugal v Wales: Cristiano Ronaldo v Gareth Bale
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach
We're responsible for writing our own history. History and tradition is important for people and countries, and that helps us here, but we're writing a new chapter now. This is a gigantic step towards our goal against incredibly strong opponents. It will be complicated but we have the talent to win it.
It's not about Cristiano v Bale, though. All four teams in the semi-finals and every player, they have the same goal. Wales are a very good side, technically gifted. I learned a lot from Jimmy Hagan [an English manager at Benfica when Santos was in his late teens]; the British school of football was very important to me. Wales are very good at it.
Wales have had an incredible campaign. They came through a tough group and beat Belgium, the No1-ranked team [in Europe] 3-1! I greatly admire Chris Coleman – we spoke once or twice when he was in Greece. I understand why he says we're favourites. I bet he doesn't tell his players that, though.
Chris Coleman, Wales manager
We believe in each other. Portugal know what semi-finals are all about; we don't mind being underdogs. It's about my players knowing they are safe in each other's hands – and they are. It's taking that identity onto the pitch.
I never thought about the semi-finals [before the EURO]. When I thought about the tournament and looked at the group we were in, I thought we were capable of getting out of the group. I know football and anything can happen, but if we got it right I thought we'd get out of the group.
Everybody's got good team spirit on a shiny day when they're winning. But our team spirit was born in the dark days when things weren't so rosy. It's down to the players. Even if you're the best coach in the world, if you haven't got the players who can go out on the pitch and do it, then it's for nothing. I'm lucky.
UEFA.com team reporters
Joe Walker, Portugal (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Remarkably, Portugal are a game away from the UEFA EURO 2016 final despite failing to secure a single victory over 90 minutes. Pepe's thigh injury presents a potential headache for Santos, but there is enough strength-in-depth. Up top, meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo remains just one goal away from Michel Platini's EURO record of nine strikes – and what better way to make history than by firing your country into the final?
Mark Pitman, Wales (@UEFAcomMPitman)
The great unknown. A EURO semi-final and, for the first time, enforced changes to the Wales XI. Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey will be missed. Coleman has been again keen to emphasise that his side must enjoy the experience, and with talisman Gareth Bale cool, calm and confident in his press conference this week, it appears the squad are taking their manager's advice on board.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Did you know?
Portugal beat Wales 3-2 in a 1949 friendly but lost 2-1 two years later in Cardiff. Their most recent encounter was in Chaves in June 2000, a 3-0 Portuguese victory. Read more in our extensive match background.
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