Portugal finally came good in Euro 2016, as they swept past Wales 2-0. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani ended the Welsh fairy-tale in France.
Going into this crunch semi-final encounter, both sides had key men missing out through suspensions and injuries. The most notable absentee was from the Wales squad, as midfielder Aaron Ramsey picked up his second yellow of the tournament against Belgium. Chris Coleman knew how big a miss the Arsenal man would be, and eventually it cost his side the match.
Ronaldo and Nani – two former Manchester United teammates – scored in the first ten minutes of the second half to give their side some leeway in closing out the game. Coleman threw the kitchen sink by sending in striker after striker, but a resolute Portuguese defence saw off the danger to book their spot in the final at Saint-Denis on the 10th of July.
TheHardTackle analyses the 22 starters of the first semi-final:
Rui Patricio: 7.5
Was brilliant in the Seleçao goal as he made some telling saves to maintain only his second clean sheet of the tournament.
Cedric Soares: 7
Ever since he was picked by coach Fernando Santos, the Southampton defender has put in one stellar performance after another, and it was much of the same against Wales, as he nullified the attacking threat down the right flank.
Bruno Alves: 6
Got himself unnecessarily booked, but was resolute throughout the game.
Jose Fonte: 6.5
Looked a calm and composed figure on the ball, and kept out the likes of Gareth Bale and Hal-Robson Kanu.
Raphael Guerreiro: 8
Returning from an injury lay-off, the left-back replaced Eliseu and put in an incredible performance for Portugal. It was off his cross that Ronaldo headed the ball into the back of the net.
Deputized for the suspended William Carvalho, and provided adequate cover to the Seleçao defence.
Joao Mario: 7
Had some decent attempts at goal, but was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet.
Adrien Silva: 7
Was tireless from the start of the game and made runs to aid both the defence, as well as the attack.
Renato Sanches: 8
The 18-year old had yet another good game at the European Championship, and put his physical frame to good use while playing behind the front two.
Scored the second goal of the contest, and made a number of telling runs throughout the course of the match.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8.5
A goal and an assist from the Portuguese captain saw the team in green make it to their second final in four European Championships.
Wayne Hennessey: 6
Was average in the semi-final game against Portugal, but some shambolic defending saw him called into action more often than not.
James Chester: 5.5
The Welsh defender had an off day, and some poor marking by him saw Ronaldo rise high and score the first goal.
James Collins: 6.5
Came in for the suspended Ben Davies, and put in a fine performance. He enjoyed a physical battle with Ronaldo, and was one of the better defenders on the field.
Ashley Williams: 6
Was an imposing figure in the Wales defence, but was caught out of position on a number of occasions. Not the best of games for the Dragons’ captain.
Chris Gunter: 5.5
The right wing-back was marginalised at the back, and failed to assist his team offensively, as he has been doing throughout the course of the tournament.
Neil Taylor: 6
Went forward at times, but his defensive exploits were a tad off the mark.
Joe Ledley: 5
Failed to play the role Ramsey has been playing, and needlessly conceded possession on a number of occasions.
Joe Allen: 5.5
Was dominated by Danilo and Renato Sanches in midfield, and was careless with the ball at his feet.
Andy King: 5.5
Got into the side due to a suspension to Ramsey, but failed to make a telling impact.
Hal Robson-Kanu: 6
Had a good game against Belgium, but looked like a shadow of himself against Portugal, and failed to get the better off Alves and Fonte in defence.
Gareth Bale: 7
Was Wales’ best player on the day, and proved to be a constant attacking threat for his side. Unfortunately, his two shots on goal were well saved by Patricio.