After successfully backing an 8/1 shot (Portugal on penalties) and a 1/2 formality (Under 2.5 Goals in Germany vs Italy) in this very column at the quarter final stage, and predicting France would demolish Iceland too, we’re in high spirits from a betting perspective heading into the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
In an equally good mood will be all connected with Wales, who have performed remarkably well to reach their first ever major tournament semi-final. Making a mockery of their ‘one man team’ accusations, Gareth Bale has been well and truly matched for excellence by the likes of Ashley Williams and James Chester in defence, Joe Allen in midfield and the previously unheralded Hal Robson-Kanu in attack. All eleven of the Welsh dragons, and those introduced from the bench, have played their absolute socks off.
Such fine performances have been rewarded with a last four date with Portugal on Wednesday, which on paper at least looks an eminently-winnable encounter. However, if we dig a bit deeper we can see there is just enough evidence to suggest that this could be the end of the road, heartbreakingly, for Wales.
Wales vs Portugal Betting Tips
How many times in sport have we watched a truly world class performance backed almost immediately after by one of lethargy and lacking in quality? Unfortunately, the answer is often, and you would have to suspect that Wales’ 3-1 triumph over Belgium was, in many respects, their own cup final. The manner in which they, their coaching staff and supporters celebrated after the match would confirm as much.
It will be incredibly difficult for Chris Coleman to rally his troops once again, not that motivation will be a key for such a tight-knit unit, but the emotion spent in the wake of the quarter final victory will surely have left his squad exhausted. The loss of Aaron Ramsey to suspension is also another cruel blow to their chances.
We haven’t really mentioned Portugal in this preview yet, and that’s because there isn’t much to say! They haven’t won a match inside 90 minutes as yet at Euro 2016, and they’ve needed some late, late goals to help them get to this stage.
Advantage Wales then, you might think, but it’s not quite as simple as that. Portugal’s record in major tournaments, and European Championships’ in particular, dictates that they will feel right at home on Wednesday night: they have reached the semi-finals in five of the seven renewals of this competition that they have qualified for. In Wales case, for the vast majority of their players this will be the biggest games of their lives; and while some will swim, some will surely sink under the pressure.
The pattern of play between these two sides dictates that a tight contest is likely – Portugal won’t come out and attack with authority like Belgium did, while Wales will not find this Portuguese backline in as generous moods as the Belgians’, which at the end of the day contained a Manchester City reserve at its heart. The Under 2.5 Goal mark is available at 1/2 – not much value there, so instead give the Half Time Draw market a look at 5/6.
Other than that, we’re betting on intuition alone. But as far as odds are concerned, backing Portugal to win in extra time (8/1) or the Draw/Portugal forecast (4/1) are the smartest investments available.
And we’re 500 words into the preview without once mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo, such has been his anonymity at this tournament. He will surely come to the party at least once at Euro 2016, and this stage looks perfectly formed for the Real Madrid man. With the Portugal win/Ronaldo to score first Wincast available at 3/1, plenty of punters will be getting involved.