Euro 2016 Semifinal Match Preview: Portugal Vs Wales

Portugal are preparing for their seventh major semi-final and a fourth in the last five EUROs, while Wales – their opponents in Lyon on Wednesday – are at this stage for the first time.

Portugal will look to make it to the final for the first time since their ill-fated adventure as UEFA EURO 2004 hosts, while Wales’s improbable journey continues in Lyon.

EURO facts: Portugal
• Portugal’s last six EURO finals matches have ended in draws after 90 minutes; five at this competition, plus a 0-0 stalemate with Spain – preceding a shoot-out defeat – in the UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finals.

• Portugal drew 3-3 with Hungary in Group F on 22 June in their only previous outing in Lyon. It was a big night for two-goal Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the first man to score in four UEFA European Championships, and also the first to play in 17 EURO finals fixtures.

• Ronaldo could also become the first man to appear in three EURO semi-finals and (having scored in 2004 against the Netherlands) only the third to score in more than one after Viktor Ponedelnik and Valentin Ivanov, who both struck for the Soviet Union in 1960 and 1964.

• Portuguese clubs’ record in seven UEFA games in Lyon is W2 D3 L2.

• Portugal are competing at their sixth consecutive EURO and their seventh in total. They are in their fourth semi-final in five editions, 2008 the only recent exception.

• Although this will be Portugal’s fifth EURO semi-final overall, their sole victory was at home in 2004 – 2-1 against the Netherlands in Lisbon, with Ronaldo and Maniche scoring. They were beaten in 1984 (2-3 v France, aet), 2000 (1-2 v France, aet golden goal) and 2012 (0-0 v Spain, 2-4 penalties).

• Portugal also lost FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1966 (1-2 v England) and 2006 (0-1 v France).

• Portugal’s greatest EURO feat is getting to the final of UEFA EURO 2004 on home soil, where they unexpectedly succumbed 1-0 to Greece.

EURO facts: Wales
• This is Wales’s first major semi-final. In fact, it is their first semi-final in any UEFA or FIFA tournament at any level for men or women.

• They have surpassed their previous best of a quarter-final place, secured at the 1958 World Cup – their only past championship experience – where they were eliminated 1-0 by eventual winners Brazil.

• Wales’s previous best EURO performance came in 1976, when they went out to Yugoslavia 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. They fell 2-0 in the first leg in Zagreb before a 1-1 draw in Cardiff.

• Until now the only Welsh team to feature in any UEFA semi-final were Cardiff City in the 1967/68 European Cup Winners’ Cup, in which they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Hamburg.

• Gareth Bale notched seven of Wales’s 11 goals in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, providing two assists, meaning he scored or set up 82% of their goals. With three strikes and one assist at these finals, he has been a little less efficient – having had a hand in just 40% of the Dragons’ ten goals in France.

• This is the first time a Welsh side – club or national – will play a competitive match in Lyon.

Culled From UEFA.COM

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