Portugal will take on Wales in the first semi-final of the UEFA Euro 2016 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon today. The Selecao will be looking forward to taking a step closer to their first ever European Championship while the Dragons will come out all guns blazing after a convincing victory against Belgium, to record their first ever final in a major competition.
Let us take a look at how both the teams have fared against each other in the past, history at the Euros and other key stats as we head into the first semi-final of the tournament.
- In a total of 3 meetings, Portugal leads the head-to-head between the two nations 2-1. However, they have played just once in the last 60 years, when the Selecao won 3-0 in an International Friendly in 2000.
- This will be their first encounter in any major tournament, the previous three encounters being friendlies.
Record at the Euros
- Portugal have reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in just seven participations at the European Championships. However, they have managed to make it to the final only once, when they lost 1-0 to Greece in 2004.
- On the other hand, Wales have made it to the semi-finals in their debut Euro campaign. They are the first team to achieve this feat since Sweden in 1992. In their only previous major competition, they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Brazil.
Portugal have failed to record a win in regulation time at Euro 2016.
Wales have scored 10 goals in the tournament so far, second to France with 11 goals. On the contrary, Portugal have managed to score just 6 goals in their 5 matches at Euro 2016.
Portugal are unbeaten in their 12 competitive fixtures under manager Fernando Santos, winning eight of them.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a goal away from equalling Platini’s record of 9 goals at the European Championship.
Bale has had the most number of shots on target at Euro 2016 (14).
Wales have been more sturdy in defence, averaging 32.60 clearances and 3.80 blocks per game in comparison to Portugal’s 19.50 clearances and 1.39 blocks.
Portugal have managed to create more chances (11.84 per 90 minutes) than Wales (8.80 per 90 minutes).
The leading goalscorer for Wales is Gareth Bale (3 goals), while Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored two each for Portugal.
Without their star man Aaron Ramsey in midfield, much will depend on the duo of Joe Allen and Gareth Bale to deliver the goods for the Welsh. Captain Ashley Williams, who scored the equaliser in the 3-1 victory against Belgium, will be aiming to put up another inspiring performance at the heart of defence.
Despite having created more chances than Wales, Portugal have failed to convert them into goals. Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani possess the prowess to dismantle any defensive unit and will hope that their fortunes change tonight.
While Portugal will look to better their record at the semi-final stages of Euros, Wales will start the game as underdogs and play with a nothing-to-lose attitude having already made their mark in the world of football.
In 1992, underdogs Denmark went on to win the European Championship. 12 years later, it was the underdogs Greece who pulled off a surprise by winning the Euro 2004. Another 12 years down the line, in 2016, will it be the year of the underdogs again? Or will the 3-time Ballon dOr winner take a step closer to end his international trophy drought?Published 06 Jul 2016, 21:11 IST