Portugal finally put in a performance worthy of Euro finalists in their 2-0 win over Wales in Lyon. It was their first win in 90 minutes against any team at this tournament and it was no surprise that main man Cristiano Ronaldo was at the heart it.
Many had felt that Portugal were riding their luck and that it would finally run out against a Welsh side who had stunned many by beating tournament favourites Belgium in their last match. The Portuguese forward finally turned up for his country with a man of the match performance as he scored and assisted the other goal.
The game didn’t look like that in the first half with Gareth Bale having the only shot on target. We were in for a long night from the evidence of play as both teams failed to break each other down. Portugal were used to nights like these and would have been the happier of the two heading into half time as they were in familiar territory in terms of how the game was going.
Things however did not go according to script as Portugal had other ideas. An early shower was due them. Up stepped Ronaldo with a powerful leaping header from a short corner that would have beaten the best of keepers. He then followed that up minutes later with an assist, albeit inadvertently, for team-mate Nani who toe-poked home Portugal’s second and ended the match as a contest.
Wales lost their fighting spirit immediately the second goal went in. They could not muster another comeback as they did against Belgium and that marked the end of the road for them as far as this tournament was concerned. They have exceeded initial expectations and will leave France with their heads held up high.
For Portugal, this performance was long overdue. But they produced it when it mattered most. They will meet either France or Germany in Paris on Sunday in their quest to win the Euros for the first time in their history.