Wales wary of dangerous Portugal
FOOTBALL: Wales manager Chris Coleman says his team must look forward and not back when it takes on Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal on Thursday morning (AEST).
Few expected the Welsh, in their first major tournament since 1958 and making their European Championship debut, to make it this far in the competition.
It has been an emotional roller-coaster ride but Coleman said all that emotion had to be removed ahead of the clash with Cristiano Ronaldo and co in Lyon.
“If we go into the next game and think ‘this tournament is so nice, and it is great, and haven’t we done so well’, then his lot (Portugal) will turn us over,” Coleman said.
“They will. They will beat us. If we go in with that mentality – that it doesn’t matter as, when we get home, the country have had such a good time watching us – it is over before we kick a ball.
“It all has to be behind us. It is only the next one.
“We have a huge chance here and I say that as I know how good our boys are and can be.
“We have to get our game plan right and then we have a good chance of good things happening. It is not easy to take the emotion out of the situation, with the amount of emotion that we need to take out of it.
“But we need to control it. We can’t let it control us and, if it does, we are dead in the water.”
All the talk before the game has been about the clash between Real Madrid teammates Ronaldo and Gareth Bale but Coleman said Portugal was more than a one-man team, despite not winning a game inside 90minutes at these championships.
“They are resilient,” Coleman said of the Portuguese, who will play in their fourth semi-final at the past five European Championships.
“They have a strength that they can come through tough times in games, where they have not dominated.
“They have not sneaked into a semi-final.
“It has taken them five games to get here and that is not luck. They have a tough mentality.
“We have had to do it a different way.
“But how we did it and how they did it – I don’t worry about that. This game will be completely different for them and us.”
France will play Germany in the other semi-final in Marseille on Friday morning (AEST) after emphatically ending Iceland’s dream run.
The host nation ran in four goals in the first half, two coming in the dying minutes, before running out 5-2 winners.
Olivier Giroud scored twice with other goals coming from Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, who scored his fourth goal of the tournament to lead the golden boot.