Wales were denied a place in the Euro 2016 final after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Portugal at the Stade des Lumières in Wednesday night’s semi-final, and after the game manager Chris Coleman admitted his players looked fatigued. While Wales had plenty of days to prepare for the encounter, it was clear from the performance that something wasn’t right with the side.
“It hurts that we lost the semi-final, the players are gutted, but they need to look back and see they have done their country proud. They could only give what they had and we looked a bit tired tonight. We never really found our momentum when we had possession, but you have to give Portugal credit, they defended deep and killed our space,” said Coleman.
The Dragons relinquished possession so cheaply, looked nervous to collect the ball in dangerous areas, and were making silly mistakes that almost led to Portugal taking an earlier lead. Wales certainly missed midfielder Aaron Ramsey from the side, and the players on the pitch looked mentally tired. Ultimately a three-minute crumble proved costly to the outcome.
“That first goal was going to be crucial. We just lost our concentration for five minutes and when you are up against quality in the semi-final of a tournament like this, Portugal unfortunately capitalised on that. We’ve done plenty of winning. Tonight it is our turn to lose, but congratulations to Portugal and I hope they go on to win the tournament,” added the Wales manager.
It took a monumental effort in the quarter-finals to earn victory over the much-fancied Belgium, but their clash against Portugal appeared to be one step too far for Wales. Gareth Bale tried valiantly to create chances, but he fell short at the Stade des Lumières. Midfielder Andy King, who came in for Ramsey, came close to converting a couple of chances, but didn’t affect the game as he would have liked.
“I think anybody is going to miss Ramsey, especially the way he has been playing. But it is about the squad. I was delighted with King. We were a little bit tired tonight. Balo (Gareth Bale) is a human being. He worked his socks off and tried everything to get us back in the game. I’m proud of all of them. Sometimes we don’t get what we want in terms of performance, but we also have to look at the opposition, because the opposition played very well,” said Coleman.
The Wales manager was keen to add how the journey isn’t over for the players, and hopes they can go on to fulfil their dreams of trophy success on the international stage. They certainly lit up the Euros.