This week sees the Semi Finals of the European Championships 2016 in full flight, with two matches to be contested this week. Portugal face off against Wales in the Wednesday evening kick off, with Germany playing against France on Thursday evening with all four sides vying for a place in Sunday's showpiece Final.

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Portugal vs Wales – Wednesday 6th July 2016 – 20:00 - ITV

Can Ronaldo and Portugal finally win their first match in 90 minutes against Wales?
Can Ronaldo and Portugal finally win their first match in 90 minutes against Wales?

Portugal face off against Wales at the Stade de Lyon in the first of the semi final fixtures, this is a huge match match for both sides as Real Madrid superstars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo continue their battle for superiority with the added carrot of a place in the final of the European Championships at stake.

Portugal come into this match having finished third in Group F behind minnows Iceland and Hungary but despite failing to win a game within 90 minutes, Ronaldo and co find themselves just one game off being in a second final in 12 years. They drew their last game with Poland 1-1, with Renato Sanches' excellent strike in the 33rd minute cancelling out Robert Lewandowski's 2nd minute opener.

Portugal initially struggled to dominate the game early on but the belief they had when Renato Sanches equalised allowed them to calm down and play a far better game. In truth there was little between the sides in open play, they completely cancelled each other out and despite Ronaldo missing a crucial late chance, probably the clearest of the game a draw was a fair result.

Portugal were very composed in front of goal and with only Jakub Błaszczykowski of Poland missing his kick Poland can feel justifiably unlucky.

Portugal have been one of the poorest performers of the tournament and they opened their account in the tournament by drawing 1-1 with Iceland and they followed that up with a goal less draw against Austria, with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Hungary to finish.

They beat Croatia by a solitary goal in extra time and their penalty win against Poland means they head to the semi finals without winning a match in 90 minutes so far.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal remain one of the dark horses especially given their performances so far in the tournament, in Wales and Gareth Bale they face a very stern test.

Portugal remain slight favourites in this tie, they will be looking to beat a Wales side that come into this match on the back of a resounding 3-1 win over pre tournament favourites Belgium.

Portugal remain the favourites at 23/20 with Cristiano Ronaldo at 11/4 the favourite to score first for Portugal.

Can Gareth Bale inspire Wales to victory in their semi final?
Can Gareth Bale inspire Wales to victory in their semi final?

Wales come into this match having finished top of Group B in one of the more difficult groups that contained England, Russia and Slovakia and they progress to this semi final tie with an excellent record.

They will be looking to better what has been an excellent campaign so far with a win and if they do so they will progress to the finals of the competition, which would be an unbelievable achievement for a side that has regularly been an underdog.

Wales headed into this tournament as one of the favourites to depart at the group stage but since the first game against Slovakia they have flourished. They won their first match 2-1, with the solitary defeat against England followed up by a 3-0 demolition of Russia.

They were defiant against Northern Ireland in a dogged 1-0 win but they saved the best until last with a 3-1 win against a star studded Belgium to progress to the semi finals of the tournament in what is their first major European Championships.

It will be a tough task to progress as Portugal on their day are an excellent side with Ronaldo the spearhead but this Wales side have had an excellent tournament and will not be losing any sleep facing a Portugal side that have been one of the worst in the tournament.

Wales have a some good individuals but they have gelled as a team very well and with their manager Chris Colemans's tactics they are in an excellent position having hit form at the latter stages of the tournament.

They are the underdogs in this match and to progress to the Final but they have an excellent record and will fancy continuing that streak in this game.

Wales are the underdogs at 14/5 with Gareth Bale the favourite to score first for Wales at 9/2.

 

Germany vs France – Thursday 7th July 2016 – 20:00 - BBC One

Can World Champions Germany avenge the 2012 loss to the Italians?
Can World Champions Germany make the Euro 2016 Final?

Germany face off against France at the Stade Vélodrome in the second of the semi final fixtures, this is a huge match match for both sides as old enemies France and Germany do battle with a place in the final of the European Championships at stake.

Germany come into this match having finished top of Group C ahead of rivals Poland and four points clear of Northern Ireland and Ukraine who failed to register any points during the tournament. Their last match saw them draw 1-1 with Italy on Saturday night in another great match at Euro 2016, where Germany eventually won 6-5 on penalties to register their place in the Semi Finals.

Germany went ahead through Mesut Ozil in the 65th minute after an extended spell of pressure eventually tolled but the Italians bounced back just 12 minutes later through a Bonucci penalty, courtesy of a Jerome Boateng handball.

This lead to an absorbing penalty shootout that saw an incredible seven players miss from the spot with Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Bastian Schweinsteiger missing for Germany with Simone Zaza, Graziano Pellè, Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Darmian all missing for Italy.

Eventually Kevin Hector slotted the winning penalty for Germany with a 6-5 win in an 18 penalty shootout.

Germany have been one of the outstanding performers of the tournament and they opened their account in the tournament by winning 2-0 against Ukraine, with a goalless draw against Poland and a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland in their final match. They went through the group stages and the last 16 without conceding and they were one of only four sides to register 7 points.

Germany remain one of the tournament favourites, given their status as World Champions but also especially given their performances so far in the tournament but in Didier Deschamps and France they face a very stern test.

Portugal remain slight underdogs in this tie, they will be looking to beat a France side that come into this match on the back of a resounding 5-2 win over surprise package Iceland.

Germany are the underdogs in this match and are 19/10 on to win with Thomas Muller the favourite to score first at 11/2.

Can hosts France secure themselves a place in the final?
Can hosts France secure themselves a place in the final?

France come into this match having finished top of Group A in one of the more easy groups that contained Switzerland, Albania and Romania and they progress to this semi final tie with an excellent record.

They will be looking to better what has been an excellent campaign so far with a win and if they do so they will progress to the finals of the competition, which would be an excellent achievement for a side that has the added pressure of being the tournament hosts.

France headed into this tournament as one of the favourites to win the tournament outright but since the first game against Romania they have flourished. They won their first match 2-1, with a goal less draw against Switzerland followed up by a 1-0 win against a spirited Northern Ireland side.

They completed a great comeback win against Republic of Ireland by 2-1, this despite going down 1-0 due to a Robbie Brady penalty and the 5-2 thumping of Iceland on Sunday evening was an excellent result and unlike England a potential banana skin avoided in emphatic style.

It will be a tough task to progress as Germany on their day are an excellent side with an excellent record and have just come through a very stern test against Italy, who they triumphed against by virtue of a penalty shootout.

France have a squad of excellent individuals but they have gelled as a team very well and with star men Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Groud firing in the last match they are in an excellent position having hit form at the latter stages of the tournament.

They are the favourites in this match and to progress to the Final and they have an excellent record and will fancy continuing that streak in this game.

France are the favourites in this tie and to secure the win they are 17/10 with Olivier Giroud at 11/2 to score first.

 

 

Today's Selections

Tip 1 – Wales to win 3-2 @ 66/1 and Gareth Bale to score first @ 9/2

Tip 2 – Germany to win 3-2 @ 50/1 and Thomas Muller to score first @ 11/2

 

All Tips Courtesy Of Sky Bet.

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