Who will win Portugal or Wales?
Portugal defeat Wales and are in the final
The European Championship in France has its first final participant. With a good second half, Portugal deserved the win against brave fighting Welsh people and made it into the final as the first team. The Portuguese prevailed in Lyon 2-0 (0-0). The semi-final game was decided by a double strike shortly after the half-time break. First, Cristiano Ronaldo rose the highest after a corner and headed to 1-0 (50th). A short time later, Nani spiked a cross from Ronaldo from close range into the goal (53rd).
Ronaldo as a sought-after photo model
There were curious scenes in the Lyon stadium even before kick-off: First, one of the young people who was part of the official opening ceremony asked for a photo with Ronaldo on the square. The Real Madrid superstar granted the wish with a smile. Immediately afterwards, a second boy, the twelfth man, smuggled himself onto the official Portuguese team photo before the game. The youngster posed beaming next to Ronaldo, who had to smile at the scene and hugged the boy with a laugh.
The game then began with liveliness: Portugal in particular, so far mostly noticed with destructive-restrained tactics, put pressure forward. Ronaldo was unlucky twice. Initially, a kink against him on the edge of the penalty area was not considered a foul, then the Swedish referee overlooked a grip by Welsh central defender James Collins against Ronaldo in the penalty area. There were no clear scoring chances, Joao Mario only fired the first warning shot in the 16th minute.
At Wales, which was noticeable in the absence of midfielder Aaron Ramsey and which only increased in the course of the generally disappointing first half, a lot went through Gareth Bale. But it also took him a long time to get a good goal opportunity. At a corner he skilfully ran free and fired a shot that missed the goal (19th). In the 23rd minute, he shot at full speed from a distance, but hit the arms of Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio. Otherwise, the action usually took place far away from the goals until the break whistle.
Double punch as a preliminary decision
If it was boring for long stretches before, the second half started with a hello-wake effect. A corner from the left sailed into the Welsh penalty area, Ronaldo waited in the middle, climbed up and headed the ball with perfect technique to make it 1-0 into the net (50th). Defender James Chester had also jumped up but had no chance of preventing the hit. It was a special goal for Ronaldo, who played his 20th European Championship final and thus further increased his record: With the ninth goal at a European Championship, he drew level with the previous record scorer Michel Platini.
Ronaldo does it: The Real Madrid superstar's header hits the Welsh goal indefensibly
Shortly afterwards, Wales suffered the next setback: When Ronaldo brought the ball sharp and flat into the penalty area, goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was already on his way to the right corner of the goal, when Nani threw himself with a stretched leg into the trajectory of the ball and tipped it to 2-0 over the line (53rd).
Wales tried to respond, but a direct free kick from Bale was easy prey for Rui Patricio (55th). An attempt by Ronaldo on the other hand was more dangerous. His free kick from around 20 meters only just touched the crossbar (63rd). The final decision was missed by Joao Mario, whose stab went just wide to the right after a shot by Nani and a save by Hennessey (65th). Wales' coach Chris Coleman used up his transfer contingent shortly afterwards. Between the 58th and 66th minute he brought three fresh offensive forces, but still almost only Bale was in danger. In the 80th minute he pulled from the right, Rui Patricio had to stretch, but was able to clear. It should be Wales' last big chance. On the other hand, Ronaldo missed his tenth European Championship goal when he had already played around the goalkeeper, but only hit the side netting from an acute angle.
For Portugal it was the first win in 90 minutes during the tournament. In the preliminary round there had been three draws, in the previous knockout rounds there were extra time against Croatia (1-0) and against the Poles (5-3). "I've always dreamed of winning something with Portugal and now it's just one step away," said Ronaldo afterwards. "Dreaming doesn't cost anything, so let's keep dreaming!" His coach Fernando Santos was also satisfied: "I'm very, very happy. Happy for the players, happy for my family, happy for all Portuguese," he said. "My first game as Portugal coach was at the Stade de France and it's nice to be back now."
Chris Coleman was full of praise for his team, which was the first Welsh football team to return to a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup: "Portugal defended well, we have to admit that. Congratulations to Portugal. I hope they do will win the final. Still, I can't say how proud I am of my team. "
You can read the exact course of the game with all the chances and important scenes here in detail.
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