Portugal 2 – 0 Wales
Portugal – Patrício; Soares, Fonte, Alves, Guerreiro; Danilo, Sanchez (Gomez 74′), Mário, Silva (Moutinho 79′); Ronaldo (MOTM), Nani (Quaresma 86′)
Wales – Hennessey; Gunter, Collins, Williams, Chester (Williams 66′), Taylor; Allen, Ledley (Vokes 58′), King; Robson-Kanu (Church 63′), Bale
Wales exited Euro 2016 last night after a 2-0 defeat to Portugal, with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.
It was a quiet start to the game with the first good chance coming after 15 minutes.
A smart one-two between Ronaldo and Joao Mario left the latter free at the edge of the box, his shot come cross went wide of the far post as it evaded the incoming Nani.
Three minutes later, Wales had their first chance through Gareth Bale. A well worked corner saw the ball fall to Bale on the edge of the box before his shot went wide of the near post.
Wales’ talisman had another chance after 22 minutes, he broke on the counter attack before striking the ball from the edge of the box, his shot was well struck but it was straight at Rui Patrício.
It was a tentative first-half, with a lack of clear-cut chances. Wales just edged it as they had more possession and more attempts on goal.
Ronaldo had a quiet first-half, but he soon came alive in the second-half.
Mário’s short corner went to Raphaël Guerreiro. He put in a superb cross to Ronaldo, who showed off his trademark herculean leap as his thunderous header was too good for Wales’s ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey as it put Portugal 1-0 up.
Things went from bad to worse for Wales just three minutes later when Portugal doubled their lead. Ronaldo received the ball on the edge of the box. His shot was wayward and was heading wide if it wasn’t for the prevention of Nani, who directed the ball goalwards to wrong foot Hennessey and put Portugal into the ascendancy.
Wales struggled to create any gilt edge chances up until the final whistle, while Portugal looked dangerous on the counter as they sought to put the game to bed.
Wales’ best chances in the second-half all came through long range efforts from Gareth Bale.
Bale tried his luck twice from outside the box in the space of three minutes with 15 minutes to go. Both attempts were powerful strikes, which moved in the air, but Portugal’s keeper, Patrício managed to keep them out.
In the end, Portugal were the better side. They were not overly impressive again but they managed to make the most of their chances, unlike Wales, as they just did enough to reach the final stage of the competition.
Portugal are set to be the underdogs in the final. Undoubtedly, they will be a tough side for their opponents to overcome in the final and with Ronaldo in their team, they will always have a chance against any team they face.
Wales crash out of the tournament at the Semi-Final stage, after being one of the shining lights of the competition.
Their incredible performance against Belgium looked to have taken it’s toll on the team. Chris Coleman’s men looked leggy and they played with a similar lack of intensity as they did against England.
Wales should take great pride with their showing this summer, the team are a credit to their country and they are a great example for other nations to use as inspiration in future tournaments.
Chris Coleman expressed his immense pride after last night’s defeat:
“I’m immensely proud of the players. It’s incredible, what they’ve done, and how they’ve performed. To get here is amazing but the nature of how they’ve achieved that too, the only game we didn’t show what we are was against England. You can only ask someone to give their best. You win or you lose.”
Portugal’s manager, Fernando Santos, spoke of his tactical ideology which has helped his side reach the final:
“Portugal always have a game-plan, an attacking and a defending game-plan. We know we’re not the best team in the world, that’s our starting point, but we also know it’s not easy to beat us. We try to study our opponents to avoid surprises, and every opponent is different. Today, the game-plan worked.”