Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Nani were enough to end the fairytale run of Gareth Bales\' Wales team during the EURO 2016. Portugal\'s 2-0 win over Wales brings a date with hosts France or 2014 World Cup winners Germany this Sunday, 10 July, at the Stade de France in Paris. Chris Coleman\'s Wales team entered their countries biggest football match - playing at their first major tournament since 1968 - in history, carried by optimism, hunger and more after their 3-1 win against Belgium. Bale had remarked that the run to the semi-final was somehow not real. "In a way it doesn\'t." They took on each match as it came their way and it was Cristiano Ronaldo\'s Portugal that popped this fairytale run.
Ronaldo, after some subpar performances in the tournament probably decided it was time to make a statement. Time to hog the limelight (not that he doesn't anyway). That happened in a three-minute span. In the 50th minute, a magnificent header from Ronaldo broke a resolute Wales defence. Three minutes later, Ronaldo was at it again. This time, he set up the second goal for Nani to seal the victory for Portugal. As The Guardian's David Hytner wrote, "It was the performance of a champion".Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) vies for the ball against Wales' defender James Chester during the Euro 2016 semi- final football match between Portugal and Wales at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in DÈcines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on 6 July, 2016 (Philippe Desmazes/AFP)Portugal's forward Nani celebrates after scoring a goal during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Portugal and Wales at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in DÈcines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on 6 July, 2016. (Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP)
Prior to this, Portugal lost five of their six semi-finals in the European Championship and World Cup. This time they buried their demons and inflicted pain on Bale's Wales. Wales missed suspended midflieder, Aaron Ramsey, the most.Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) embraces Wales' forward Gareth Bale after Portugal beat Wales 2-0 in the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Portugal and Wales at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in DÈcines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on 6 July, 2016. (Martin Bureau/AFP)
Wales fans were second only to the Viking fans. As Wales defeat became apparent in Lyon, the fans showed their appreciation like no other. They sang songs and clapped, cheered and so much more.
Portugal now turn their attention to the next match, on 7 July, France vs Germany, awaiting to see who their opponent will be in Sunday's final. Both World Cup winners, by the way.
Photo curation by Vikas Kumar
First published: 7 July 2016, 11:48 IST