Portugal v Wales Preview & Match Odds

Portugal v Wales Preview & Match Odds

Odds: Portugal: 5/4, The Draw: 21/10, Wales: 29/10Portugal-v-Wales-preview-graphic

 

Euro 2016 is the first football tournament featuring Wales in the semi-final stage.

A stunning, but thoroughly-deserved 3-1 victory over Belgium booked them a berth in the last four, where they’ll face Portugal.

Just how the Seleccao have ventured so far remains a mystery – they’re yet to win a single game inside regulation time and have led matches for a mere 22 minutes in total.

However, the contrasting reputations of both nations naturally makes Wales the semi-final surprise package.

But after limping their way to the penultimate hurdle, Portugal leaping over it with the grace of Sally Gunnell as the Welsh faceplant the polyurethane looks the most likely outcome here.

Win, Lose or Draw

The accumulation of two yellow cards over the first five matches spells a semi-final suspension, a harsh reality that Wales stars Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies are probably still very annoyed about.

Both were booked in the win over Belgium and will subsequently miss the biggest game in the history of Welsh football.

The presence of superstar card evader Gareth Bale, who goes in search of a fourth Euros goal against Portugal, has ensured supporter optimism has barely diminished, but the loss of Ramsey and, to a lesser extent, Davies is likely to prove fatal.

Joe Allen comes closest to matching the Arsenal star’s 51 completed passes in the final third; he has 25 from the same number of matches.

Ramsey has created 15 chances too – that’s two more than Toni Kroos has managed for Germany and a total only four players in the tournament can best. Allen is once again the second-most prolific amongst the Welsh middle men for opportunities fashioned with five. Bale has created just four.

Gareth Bale celebrates his country's opening goal verses Slovakia
Gareth Bale celebrates his country’s opening goal verses Slovakia

There are just ten positional peers at the Euros who have touched the ball more frequently in the final third than Ramsey and only nine have been the recipient of more passes.

Perhaps most crucially though, he has had a direct involvement in exactly half of Wales’ goals. By comparison, Bale has played a part in just 30% of his country’s goals.

Subtracting Ramsey’s influence will significantly reduce how threatening the Dragons are in the final third, while Davies either tops or shares the summit in the statistical charts for possession recoveries and aerial duels won amongst his fellow centre-backs, despite being a left-back predominantly.

Losing such integral players will see Wales come unstuck against a Portugal team that has so far exploited fortuitous circumstances masterfully.

Recommended bet: Portugal to win @ 5/4

Over/Under

Just once in the competition so far have Portugal scored multiple goals in a single game, while 12 of their previous 17 outings fell short of the 2.5-goal line.

Six of these finished in their favour, while only four ended in defeat.

With the previous section forecasting a first tournament win without recourse to extra-time or penalties for Fernando Santos’ men, siding with the favourites in under three strikes looks good value.

Recommended bet: Portugal to win & under 2.5 goals @ 13/5

Who’s Going To Score?

The battle between Real Madrid colleagues Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale will dominate the preamble, but it’s one of the former’s countrymen who rate as the best first-goal wager.

Nani can match Ronaldo for goal involvement this tournament, having played a part in half of their six strikes, but the Fenerbahce forward has been the deadlier by comparison.

He has had more touches and attempts inside the box and a shot accuracy of 36.8% towers over the 25% mustered by Ronaldo. These stats make him the most likely deadlock breaker.

Recommended bet: Nani to score first @ 11/2

Left-Field Flutter

There has been just three Portugal goals in first halves this tournament, but fewer still have come after the break.

Each game in which the Seleccao have notched in normal time, they’ve done so in the first half and with a slender win being forecast here, expect the first and, probably only, goal to fall inside the first 45.

Recommended bet: More goals scored in the first half @ 23/10

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