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Portugal vs. Wales: Ronaldo, Bale meet in EURO 2016 Semifinals

UEFA EURO 2016 Semi-final

When: 3:00 PM ET, Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Where: Stade des Lumieres, Lyon

The first semifinal game of the Euro 2016 is between Portugal and Wales at Lyon, France. This game can also be renamed as the Ronaldo versus Bale due to the big star status of these two players. Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2015-2016 Champions League months ago playing for Real Madrid. They are teammates but the press from Spain keeps on mentioning that their relationship isn´t the ideal one, could be truth or just a way to sell more newspapers.

Bale and Cristiano are used to winning trophies together, but now they will be against each other and only one will advance to the final. There is going to be a lot of talk about them but lets check the background of the teams in major tournaments.

What Wales have done so far in this tournament is their best ever performance in a major tournament. Pelé sent them home back in 1958 when they played the quarterfinals of the World Cup that took place at Sweden. Brazil 1 - Wales 0 was the final score and days after Brazil won their first World Cup. This is the reason why this game is so big for the country that is part of the United Kingdom.

For Portugal and Cristiano, this is an opportunity to fix what went wrong in the Euro 2004. That Euro took place in Portugal, where Greece beat the host country 1-0 in final. Cristiano Ronaldo was on the field that day: this is the reason why this game is so big for this nation located on the Iberian Peninsula.

Now lets take a look at the current form of the teams. While Wales have been impressive so far, Portugal has been just a regular team.  Wales won their group which featured strong teams on paper: England, Slovakia and Russia. Then they defeated Northern Ireland. In the quarterfinals they sent home one of the favorites to lift the cup: Belgium.

Portugal has not win in regulation time: in the group stage they tied against Iceland, Austria and Hungary. In the next stage Portugal defeated Croatia with a goal in Extra Time (0 – 0 in regulation time, 1 – 0 in Extra Time).  And against Poland they drew 1-1 and advance after the penalty kicks.

Wales have two players suspended for this game: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal F.C.) and Ben Davies (Swansea City).  Ramsey is the playmaker of this team with 4 assists in the tournament and 1 goal. He is going to be missed in this important game.  But Wales’s manager Chris Coleman will have to choose between Jonny Williams (Crystal Palace) or Andy King (Leicester City F.C.). In the defense, James Collins (West Ham United) probably will replace Ben Davies. 

Portugal will miss William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon) due to suspension. Carvalho plays as a defensive midfielder and is second on the team when it comes to market value, ranking only behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal is the favorite at +110, with Wales the underdog at +275 while a draw pays +195 on the moneyline or three-way. Portugal is -0.5 goals +110 making Wales +0.5 goals -130. The total for the game is 2 under -120. If you are looking for a line that will include regulation, Extra Time and Penalty kicks, the “to advance” odds is what you are looking for: Portugal -190 Wales +160.

Gareth Bale has 3 goals scored and 2 assists in the Euro 2016 while Cristiano Ronaldo has 2 goals scored and 2 assists.  I think that Bale has been better that Cristiano Ronaldo in this tournament and that's why I like Wales +0.5 goals -130. This bet is for regulation time as I don’t see Portugal winning in 90 minutes.

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