Against a plucky Welsh side likely to fight to the bitter end for a Euro 2016 final place, Portugal face a true test in Lyon tonight.
However, the Portuguese have suffered a blow ahead of the game via Pepe being ruled out with an injury.
Facing the fluid forward partnership of Gareth Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu, the Real Madrid centre-back will be sorely missed. On the other hand, it proves further reason to be excited if you’re cheering on the Welsh.
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Albeit proving a controversial figure, there can be little doubting that Pepe is a world-class defender. In Portugal’s messy run to the semi finals, he has been the adhesive in a back four that has stood firm in the knockout rounds.
Moreover, with two Champions League medals sitting in his trophy cabinet, the 33-year-old has a fresh taste for glory as well as inside knowledge on how to keep out Bale.
Bruno Alves proves the man to fill the void, but there can be no denying that it proves a severe downgrade.
The 34-year-old is past his best and has plied his trade in weaker leagues recently. Zenit St. Petersburg and Fenerbache are no Real Madrid.
In light of this selection blow for Portugal, fans have taken to Twitter to react. Here are the pick of the Tweets:
Wales won’t be lacking in belief tonight, but their mentality and strength will be put to the test against a courageous Portuguese outfit. Nonetheless, the absence of Pepe will only help their journey towards the improbable dream of going all the way this summer.
Do you think Wales can overcome Portugal tonight? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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