Research from bettingexpert showed that just 1% of 30,000 users predicted Wales would reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016. I must admit – I wasn’t one of them.
Their progress, along with Iceland’s, has been the story of the championships and the Belgian result was massive. If you read my diary last week, you’ll know I didn’t see it coming.
I thought Belgium were in the groove, and that they looked set to reach the final.
That victory will give Chris Coleman’s men a huge injection of confidence that they can now get the better of a Portugal side that hasn’t won a game in normal time. They have to have that belief.
When we prepared for the World Cup semi-final against Germany at Italia ’90, we were determined not to let the occasion get the better of us, and Wales must do the same.
They need to keep everything routine in the build-up, not hype it up, and, above all, play their own game tonight. The noises coming out of their camp are that they are doing just that, and what a match it promises to be.
The clash between Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo takes top billing and it could well come down to whichever Real Madrid man performs the best.
Ronaldo has scored twice for Portugal but he could have had seven or eight, when you look at some of the chances he’s not been able to put away. He rises to the big occasion and my worry for Wales is that he might find his shooting boots and dominate the game in a way that he hasn’t really managed so far.
Furthermore, the loss of Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies will be a big problem for Coleman to solve.
Ramsey is one of his leaders, he covers the miles, is great on the ball and is one of their few truly top class players, while Davies has had an excellent tournament and the last thing you want to do at this stage is to make changes to a settled defence.
Portugal have got the tournament experience. The fact that they have got here without winning a game in 90 minutes shows that. My gut feeling is that this greater know-how could be the difference.
It will be a tight game, one that I think Portugal will just sneak 2-1 in 90 minutes.