Portugal beats Wales 2-0 to reach Euro 2016 final
Portugal defeated Wales 2-0 in their Euro 2016 semi-final in Lyon thanks to second-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, sending the side into the final in Paris on Sunday. The result ends Wales’ fairytale run in the tournament.
A tight first half saw the sides go in 0-0 at the break, but Portugal scored twice within the space of three second-half minutes to end Wales’ chances of reaching a major final for the first time.
For Portugal, it offers Cristiano Ronaldo and his team the chance to win a major tournament for the first time when they appear in the final on Sunday – when they will face the winners of Thursday’s semi-final between host-nation France and world champions Germany.
After a first half of few chances, the game burst into life in the second half when Ronaldo rose highest to power in a header from a corner on 50 minutes.
Nani doubled the lead for Portugal on 53 minutes when he poked in a Ronaldo shot, leaving Wales with a deficit they were unable to overturn.
Wales worked hard and pressed towards the end, but ultimately lacked the quality to break down the Portuguese defense.
The game had been billed as a clash between two Real Madrid teammates – Ronaldo of Portugal and Gareth Bale of Wales – but it was the Portugal captain who came out on top as he scored the opening goal and saw his shot turned in by Nani for the second.
Bale for the most part was restricted to long-range efforts that rarely troubled Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Welsh fans continued to back their team till the end, and will be proud of the players' efforts in reaching a stage of the tournament few had expected.
Portugal have in many respects come in under the radar, with many writing them off before the tournament.
However, they will now fancy their chances at the Stade de France on Sunday, especially with exciting young talent Renato Sanches looking sharp and Ronaldo looking more like his old self.