Written by Rhys Paul
It took just three minutes for Wales historic run in Euro 2016 to come to an end. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo (50) and Nani (53) consigned Wales to a 2-0 defeat in Lyon. A fairly even first-half saw Wales take the game to their opponents who themselves responded threateningly on the counter. That all changed early in the second-half with a double sucker punch proving to be too much for Wales to overcome. It appeared to take the wind out of their sails and the team appeared short of the quality and the energy needed to haul themselves back into the game. This was not the team’s best performance, but that should not detract from what has been a superb tournament for the country. It’s been a good run, but unfortunately it is all over now.
Wayne Hennessey – 6
This was probably Hennessey’s worst performance in the tournament. He was confident in his catching, but on a couple of occasions he struggled to hold onto shots. He did well to recover from one of these mistakes as he managed to throw his body onto the ball before it was tapped over the line on the 78th minute. Nothing he could do about Ronaldo’s powerful header and he had already committed himself to Ronaldo’s miscued effort before Nani changed its direction for the second.
Chris Gunter – 6
Some decent crosses from Gunter were about the only highlight of the Reading defender’s night. Unfortunately, the majority of these balls into the box were dealt with comfortably by the Portuguese defence. Overall, it was a quiet night for him.
James Collins – 6
Drafted into the team to fill in for the suspended Ben Davies, he initially did a great job. He won everything in the air and made a couple of important clearances to get the ball out of danger. He came out on top in his aerial battles with Ronaldo and it was when Collins wasn’t marking the Real Madrid superstar when he did the damage. At fault with Ashley Williams for allowing Nani to slip in for the second goal. Substituted in the 65th minute.
Ashley Williams – 6
This was another game in which I thought Williams should have done better in his defensive play. Similarly to Belgium, he came to life once the odds were stacked against Wales. He started to make his presence felt further up the pitch, but he was another player who has seen better days.
James Chester – 7
His game wasn’t disrupted by the fact he had to move to the left of the centre of defence. Chester once again defended well and made a crucial challenge just before half-time to put Ronaldo off from an almost certain headed goal. He also coped well with the potentially dangerous Renato Sanches, using his strength to get the better of the teenager. He lost out in the air to Ronaldo for the opening goal.
Neil Taylor – 6
Taylor enjoyed something of a mixed, unspectacular afternoon. It was clear he was not going to contribute the same attacking threat from previous matches and this was displayed in the several times he lost possession for the team. Struggled defensively, but a brave close-range block from Ronaldo’s shot showed the cause was not lost in his eyes despite the team already being 2-0 down.
Joe Allen – 5
For a player in the middle of the park, Allen disappeared from the game far too much. His passing was not up to his usual standards and he became increasingly more sloppy in his tackling as the clock ticked on. Wales needed him to step up in the absence of Ramsey and he failed to do so. It just wasn’t his day against Portugal.
Joe Ledley – 6
Ledley looked sharper than in his previous outings, but it was still clear that this was a player who had rushed back from injury. A clever corner in the first-half would have been genius if Bale’s effort had flown into the top corner. Unsurprisingly, he was the first player to be substituted by Chris Coleman in favour of a more attacking player as Wales chased the game.
Andy King – 6
King’s movement off the ball early in the game threatened to cause Portugal problems. He was always getting into the box and he worked tirelessly for the team. However, all of this work came off the ball and he very rarely did anything on the few occasions when he actually received the ball. He didn’t play badly, but he was unable to fill the void left by Ramsey.
Gareth Bale – 7
As expected, Bale looked like the only way back into the game for Wales. He was lively throughout – particularly on the counter – and a few cut ins from the right onto his left foot amounted to shots straight at the keeper. A couple of long range efforts in the 76th and 80th minute were about as close as Wales came to pulling a goal back, but they were again efforts that caused the keeper little trouble.
Hal Robson-Kanu – 5
He has done well to get on the score-sheet in previous games, but he failed to do so here. Other than goals, he has contributed little and it showed in his performance in the Semi-Final. With Pepe ruled out before kick-off, he would have hoped for a chance to use his pace against the ageing Portuguese centre-backs, but ultimately never got a chance to do so. Ineffective and replaced with Simon Church.
Sam Vokes – 6
The obvious choice to come on with Wales chasing the game, he did almost come close to scoring before Bruno Alves denied him at the last.
Simon Church – 4
Brought on for the ineffective Robson-Kanu, Church was somehow even more ineffective. He rarely saw the ball and the likelihood of Wales scoring suffered as a result.
Jonathan Williams – 6
Replaced Collins in the 65th minute and looked to inject energy into a tired Welsh side. A couple of neat passes and a brave diving header to win a loose ball showed he was trying his best to make something happen. Unfortunately for him and Wales, he did not see enough of the ball.
Do you agree with these ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Jon Candy