Last night proved one game too many for Wales as they lost 2-0 to Portugal following two quick fire second half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.
Chris Coleman’s side were a shadow of themselves and they really did miss Aaron Ramsey in the centre of midfield to help in the final third where it never really clicked for them.
I’m still not totally convinced by Portugal. One side have really got at them and that was Hungary, who scored three times. At least, for them, they are one step closer to writing the wrong of Euro 2004.
Both of the 0.5pt punts lost, so the profit is now +7.37.
France v Germany
Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Kick Off: 20:00
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli, (ITA)
Hosts France have grown into the tournament and it has lead to many saying it’ll be their year.
They overcame Iceland in emphatic style leading 4-0 at the break and despite shipping two second half goals winning 5-2. That followed on from the inspired second half showing against the Republic of Ireland as well.
Didier Deschamps is able to recall Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante after both have served their suspensions. Both are likely to come back into the starting eleven for Samuel Umtiti and Mousa Sissoko.
World Champions Germany have been typically efficient in their matches and despite getting through on penalties in the last round against Italy it was a deserved result.
Both sides came through top of their group and with a 0-0 draw next to their names. It’s fair to say Germany have built their side around clean sheets because the penalty from Leonardo Bonucci was the first goal they had conceded at the tournament.
However Joachim Low will be forced into changes tonight. Defender Mats Hummels is out through suspension meaning they could revert to a flat back four with Benedikt Howedes partnering Jerome Boateng.
On top of that Mario Gomez has a thigh strain and Sami Khedira a groin problem, so those pair are also doubts. That could mean Julian Draxler returns to his starting berth and Bastian Schweinsteiger starts his first match at this tournament.
Les Blues have failed to beat Germany in their previous four meetings in tournament football and the most recent was at the 2014 World Cup where a first half goal from Mats Hummels was enough to separate the sides.
The sides met more recently in a friendly last November, which were overshadowed by the terror attacks on Paris that night. The French were 2-0 victors that night and both teams were at full strength, so could we see Deschamps men write a new chapter in French footballing history?
When you look at the stats then they are very close making it difficult to call a result. The only run away stat is France have scored four more goals (11 to 7) than Die Mannschaft from a similar number of shots on target.
Both teams average around 7 corners per match and average 1.4 cards per match meaning you couldn’t really put a sheet of paper to separate them.
Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli takes charge of his fourth, and likely last, match of the tournament. He officiated France’s 2-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland in a match where he sent off Shane Duffy and awarded a penalty in the first minute, so he isn’t shy from making decisions.
He has brandished 13 yellows and one red card shown so far, so that is a yellow card average of 4.3 per match. If you go on booking points then his tournament average is over 50.
The 44 year old was the official that showed Rami and Kante the cards that saw them sit out of the clash with Iceland, so he is likely to have their names in the back of his mind as persistent foulers and the fact one of that pairing is 7/2 to be shown a card then it’s too good to turn down.
With the attacking ability on show it wouldn’t be a surprise to see goals in this semi final despite what is at stake. The goals would be down to the formation Deschamps employs with the 4-2-3-1 looking more fluid and helping them to cut open defences.
If he starts with that shape then that is a signal of intent but if he goes for the 4-3-3 then he’s making sure to keep it tight to protect the back four, which is especially vulnerable in the full back positions.
On that basis it might be worth the wait for team news to see how they line-up. The current 11/10 on both teams to score does appeal with the likes of Muller, Ozil, Draxler, Griezmann, Giroud, Payet and Pogba all able to find the net.
The anytime goalscorer market is definitely a player in this game if you’re of the same line of thinking about goals. The fact it is 2/1 or bigger for everyone to score means there is value in some players, especially the 11/2 on both Pogba and Ozil.
With everything pointing at a close game then once more Coral’s enhancement of the match to go to penalties at 9/2 appeals.
I’m going round in circles to try and find the best way into this game and I think it’s with the single on a player to be carded considering he’s already seen two so far. For me he is overpriced in this market with his robust nature. I do like the look of goals in this one too!
N’Golo Kante to be shown a card – 7/2 (Sky Bet)