Date: 6th July 2016 at 11:00am
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The Welsh dream takes itself to Lyon on Wednesday night in the first of the EURO 2016 semi-finals, where Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal stand in the way of Gareth Bale and Wales making more history.

Already in their first-ever semi-final, Chris Coleman’s men must now overcome a Portuguese side that has failed to impress throughout the majority of the tournament, if they are to add another piece of history to a competition that has already created so much for Welsh football.

Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Wales’ Bale is the joint-second top goalscorer at EURO 2016 so far this summer with three strikes – Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Portugal have advanced into this semi-final in quite unusual fashion. They qualified from Group F, perhaps the weakest group in the tournament having drawn all three of their games against Iceland, Hungary and Austria.

They then faced Croatia in the Round of 16, where Ricardo Quaresma netted a late winner in extra-time to knock them out before beating Poland on penalties in the quarter-final last Thursday having drawn 1-1.

Wales however have had a dramatic ride through to this stage, which was encapsulated in their quarter-final on Friday.

Having won Group B ahead of England after two wins and a defeat, they overcame a stubborn Northern Ireland in the Round of 16 thanks to an own goal.

Then against Belgium in the quarter-finals, they produced the greatest performance in Welsh football history to come from behind and beat the second ranked team in the world 3-1 on a memorable night.

These sides have met just three times in their history and this will be their first-ever competitive meeting.

Their first encounter was in 1949 and their second was just two years later, with each side taking a win each. The last time the sides met was in 2000, when the Portuguese ran out comfortable winners in a 3-0 scoreline.

Portugal will be competing in their fourth semi-final at a European Championships from the last five, with 2008 being the exception. Wales meanwhile are the first tournament debutants to make the semi-finals since Sweden managed it in 1992.

Photo: Presse Sports / Offside

Ronaldo’s only goals at EURO 2016 came in the 3-3 draw against Hungary back in June – Photo: Presse Sports / Offside.

Team News:

Portugal will be missing William Carvalho through suspension after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Poland.

Danilo will likely deputise for the Sporting Lisbon man in the holding midfield role, with the only other doubt being Real Madrid man Pepe who missed training on Monday with a thigh problem.

Wales will be without key man Aaron Ramsey through suspension along with Ben Davies in defence.

James Collins is likely to naturally step-in at the back in the back three, whilst Wolves’ Dave Edwards is the most likely option to replace Ramsey.

Manager Coleman could also look to Crystal Palace’s Jonny Williams or Leicester City’s Andy King.

FIFA World Ranking: Portugal – 8th; Wales – 26th
Best European Championship Finish: Portugal – Runners-Up (2004); Wales – First Appearance
Previous Meeting: Portugal 3-0 Wales – June 2, 2000 (International Friendly)
Form: Portugal – WDDDWD; Wales – LWLWWW
Key Men: Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo; Wales – Gareth Bale
Shoot Says: Portugal 1-2 Wales

 
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