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Euro 2016: Huge game for Welsh football as Wales take on Portugal

 
As featured on NewsNow: Football news eNewsletter
 
Portugal and Wales have never won the European championship with the former's best finish coming when they lost to Greece in front of their home fans in 2004. The Dragons have never made it to the final and this is their first appearance in the tournament.

In the quarter-final clash, Portugal overcame Poland to make it to the last four of the Euro 2016. Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski gave his side an early lead before his new club teammate Renato Sanches scored Portugal's equaliser.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw even after the end of the extra time and the outcome was decided on penalties. Jakub Blaszczykowski was the only player who failed to convert, which resulted in Poland losing 5-3 to Portugal on penalties.

Wales, on the other hand, had no trouble in making their way to the semi-final. In the quarter-final clash, Chris Coleman's side saw themselves 1-0 down in the 13th minute, thanks to AS Roma star midfielder Radja Nainggolan's powerful striker.

Swansea City defender Ashley Williams' 30th minute header saw Wales equalise before two goals in the second half saw them seal a 3-1 victory over Belgium. Wales are two victories away from winning the Euros.

For the first semi-final, Wales will be without the services of Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies as the duo are suspended for the clash. William Carvalho is suspended for Portugal, while Pepe's fitness has raised concern over his participation in Lyon.

The clash will also see Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale lead their respective sides. It will be for the first time the two forwards will face each other in a major tournament.

Portugal are yet to win a match in 90 minutes as all of their five matches have ended in a draw. They would not mind another draw as long as they beat Wales in the extra time or penalties to make it to the final.

This is the furthest Wales have ever got in a tournament - they reached the quarter-finals of the Wolrd Cup in 1958 their previous best - and like now they had one of the best players in the world in John Charles who in his day was as important to Wales as Bale is now.

But, if Wales were to reach the final not only will it put football right up there with Rugby as the main sport in the principality it will enhnace the Welsh FA's financial poistion by attracting bigger sponsorships and income streams in the years ahead. It's not just a place in the final at stake.

JR

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