The first of the Euro 2016 semi finals takes us to Lyon and a headline writers’ dream of Ronaldo taking on Real Madrid team mate Gareth Bale. It is worth bearing in mind however that both nations progress to this stage is down to far more than being carried by either of their talisman.
With the exception of their 6 goal do or die Group F finale against Hungary, Portugal’s matches have been among the tightest of the competition, amounting to little more than wars of attrition. There are though reasons to believe that may change here. They have reached the final four despite failing to win in ninety minutes and arguably more credit to this point goes to Pepe marshaling the back rather than Ronaldo leading at the front. Crucially Pepe is nursing a thigh injury and at the age 33 his ability to recover within the confines of the tight Euro 2016 schedule has to be called into serious doubt.
Add to that the enforced absence through suspension of William Carvalho and the Welsh missing Ben Davies, (a rock at the back) and Aaron Ramsey, (more influential than Bale to this point) for the same reason, it isn’t hard to envisage an open first stanza with several key personnel changes in crucial areas across the park across both sides.
Even allowing for Portugal’s safety first philosophy that has got them this far, 3 of their five Euro 2016 games have featured a goal or more by half time and 4 of the 5 games involving the Welsh have seen the scoreboard operator in action inside 45 minutes. The market has been fluctuating throughout Wednesday and if Pepe’s absence is confirmed it is sure to shorten up again but OVER 0.75 FIRST HALF GOALS is currently around the 2.00 mark and that represents value in terms of both sides tournament statistics and the team selection dilemmas they are facing.
#BestBets – Portugal vs Wales = OVER 0.75 GOALS IN FIRST HALF