With a woken up attack and Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal will enter the second UEFA European championship match in its history with equal odds to claim the first crown over previous favorites France and Germany.
The Portuguese, powered by a breathtaking and highflying header from Ronaldo in the 50th minute and Nani’s followup goal three minutes later, took down upstart Wales 2-0 Wednesday to secure its first trip to the Euro title round since 2004.
As a result, Bovada.lv now lists Portugal, France, and Germany all at +175 odds to win the Euro title. France and Germany will square off Thursday with the victor facing Portugal on Sunday at Stade de France in Saint-Denis.
Though it lost the possession battle 56-44, Fernando Santos’ side looked far sharper in the attack and nothing like the squad that netted only six goals in its first five matches of the tournament. A Selecao generated 18 total shots with six on target and consistently pressured the Welsh defense on set pieces with six corner kicks.
Ronaldo drew a yellow card in the process, but the win also helped the Real Madrid megastar snap a two-match scoreless streak to help him build confidence prior to the championship round.
The 31-year-old and Ballon d’Or winner now has the chance to help Portugal secure its first major international title, and potentially surpass long-time rival and Barcelona star Lionel Messi after he failed to lead Argentina to glory at the Copa America last month.
Still, Portugal will have to overcome one of the world’s most talented and experienced teams in either France or Germany. The French, in particular, have owned the Portuguese throughout their all-time battles. Dating back to 1978, Didier Deschamps' side have won 10 straight over Portugal, including a 1-0 friendly triumph in September, and Selecao’s scored only twice in the last six meetings.
The reigning World Cup Germans and manager Joachim Low have proven just as dominate over Portugal. Germany owns a 10-5-3 all-time mark against Portugal and has won four straight by a combined 11-3, with nearly half of those goals coming in the 4-0 group stage opener two years ago in Brazil.