“……Vokes!!!!! I don’t believe it!!!! It is the greatest night in Welsh football history, and Belgium are battered!!!!!” “I think this is what shock feels like Steve. This is absolutely astonishing!!!!”
– Steve Barnyard and David Prutton (Commentators for the EURO 2016 Quarterfinal between Belgium and Wales).
Unarguably the standout result saw ‘debutants’ Wales defeat Marc Wilmots’ Belgian charges who were left stunned and crestfallen as they couldn’t cope with the counterattacks of their less-fancied Welsh opponents. The other three ties saw a real hiding given to the never-say die Vikings by Les Bleus, two lotteries from 12 yards sending Portugal and Germany through.
Wednesday kicks off the semifinal stage as we’ll see Zizou’s key players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale put all sentiments aside for a place in Sunday’s showdown. Portugal come into this tie having never won a game in ninety minutes all tournament. Wales on the other hand have won all games but the one against Roy Hodgson’s men.
Cristiano hasn’t been on his usual form whilst clubmate Gareth Bale’s swept everyone aside this competition with three goals in the bag so far. Apart from the goals, he’s looked a real handful for defenders as Belgium found out. He’s also got a gem of a pass on him, Hal Robson-Kanu’s astounding goal typified that. Portugal, you’ve got a real problem on your hands here. As for talisman CR7, Wednesday’s the best possible time for the Portuguese to stand up and be counted.
In truth, he’s looked a real shocker at times Cristiano. Bar the man of the match performance against Bernd Stock’s Hungary and the game against Austria, he’s gone through games as a real passenger. Last time out, Cristiano could have had a hat-trick, but he wasn’t just in the game.
The thought of both men (Ronaldo and Bale) clashing this week makes the semifinal all the more anticipated. Away from the talismen, both sides have got some really top players. Pepe, who’s been labeled a villain has been a class act at the back. Teen Revelation Renato Sanches has turned up in this competition as his man of the match performance showed what a greedily talented young man he is. Nani and co would have a say in that game you feel.
Wales, have large portion of their players literally ready to leave it all on the pitch. They’ve got a willing captain in Ashley Williams as well as an engine in Welsh Pirlo Joe Allen. Free agent Hal Robson-Kanu whose Messiesque goal left Thibaut Courtois clawing fresh air would want to put up a very good audition for interested suitors Leicester City.
On a sad note, William Carvalho, Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey will all miss this tie as they’ve picked up the unfortunate yellow card. That does nothing to dampen the anticipation really. Danilo will slot in for Carvalho, whilst James Collins and Jonny Williams will both fill the holes left by the suspended duo. What a tie this will be. Who’s your money on?
Article by: Fowora Ayotomiwa, @El_Fowora