To demonstrate how even some Wales players didn’t believe they would make it this far, Gareth Bale said at a press conference this week that midfielder Joe Ledley had planned his wedding for this Saturday, a day before the final will take place.
Wales are undoubtedly the tournament’s shock team, especially now that Iceland were thrashed by France, and they will hope that they can add another shock to the annals of recent European Championships that saw Greece and Denmark emerge as champions in 2004 and 1992 respectively.
Before they arrived, few outside the United Kingdom would have been able to recall any Welsh player beyond Gareth Bale. However, after coming above England in the group stage and now defeating Belgium, who are number two in the FIFA world rankings.
Their 3-1 win was as efficient as it was unexpected and Wales put on a team performance as good as any other to reach an unprecedented semi-final tie, and 90 minutes away from a historic final.
However, first they have to defeat Portugal, six FIFA rankings lower than Belgium.
Much more was expected of Portugal and their place in the semi-final is far less of a shock than their opponents. However, their very mediocre performances have seen them scrape through. They only just made it out of the group stages after drawing each of their group stage games, and have still yet to win a game in 90 minutes as they defeated Croatia in the 117th minute through a tap in by Ricardo Quaresma and then won on penalties against Poland in the previous round.
Like Belgium, Portugal have not been able to sufficiently turn their good individual players into a strong team performance. Ronaldo, arguably the best player at the tournament, has made more headlines for his Twitter sulks and missed penalties, than his trademark mazy runs and dipping free-kicks.
Wales will be coming into the game knowing that a repeat performance will see them through, while Portugal will have to find winning ways sooner rather than later.