Neville Southall: Forget Ronaldo – Wales will never have a better chance of reaching a major Finals

But the Dragons will need to be smart against one of the sneakiest sides in international football says the goalkeeping legend.

Nevilee Southall Euro 2016

I haven’t watched much of Portugal because I hate watching Ronaldo. He has to be in the limelight all the time and he loves the focus to be on him – rather than the team. But there’s no doubt that like Gareth Bale – he is a game changer. And he won’t want to go back to Real Madrid after this tournament having being upstaged by his team-mate in Wednesday’s semi final. His ego won’t allow it.

This is Portugal’s fourth semi-final in the last five Euro Championships. Ronaldo in particular will want to take them to the final again as he was only 19 when Greece beat Portugal in 2004. He’ll be 35 by the time the next Euro finals roll around in 2020. There’s a lot of pressure on him to perform. But it isn’t happening so far – and it shows. 

You don’t see Gareth having a go at his team-mates, the opposition fans, the media and acting the big-time Charlie every chance he gets. He’s part of a team.  As he says it’s 11 v 11, not 1 v 1. Ronaldo is the opposite – when he gets frustrated he lashes out at those around him and that frequently includes his team-mates.

And that’s where Wales can take advantage in Lyon on Wednesday night.

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Chris Coleman will have to drill into his side that they stay disciplined against one of the sneakiest sides in international football.

Portugal’s play-acting could get them a place in the West End, never mind the Euro 2016 final.

Ronaldo and Nani in particular will go down like they’ve been shot if there’s any hefty challenges and it would be a mistake to try and bully them out of it – particularly near our penalty area. The Dragons will need to be streetwise and not get involved in any off-the-ball incidents.

Portugal are one of the worst teams to play against for gamesmanship and Wales can’t go diving into tackles or get dragged into any vendettas. Hopefully, the referee will be strong enough to see through their antics – but we can’t rely on that.

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If Portugal didn’t have Ronaldo, Wales would be favourites for Wednesday night’s Euro 2016 semi final.

All the pundits and so-called experts talked about Wales being a one-man team in Gareth Bale but the 3-1 win over Belgium proved that we’ve more to us than just the Real Madrid man.

I think the rest of Europe is rooting for Wales – except maybe England, who won’t want us to show them up.

Fernando Santos’ side have made a habit of taking teams to extra-time with their last six Euro finals game ending in draws. I don’t think there’ll be many goals and hope Wales can edge it 1-0 in 90 minutes.

It’ll be nerve-wrecking, but I’d even take extra-time and penalties as long as we reach Sunday night’s final at .

Wales will never get a better chance to reach the finals of a major competition and I’ll be disappointed if we can’t advance to Sunday night’s final against CR7 & Co.

When I was on international duty and we’d beaten Scotland or the Republic of Ireland mid-week, I’d wear the jerseys we’d swapped into training with Everton the following Friday. The lads took it in good heart but I can’t imagine Ronaldo being too pleased if Gareth turns up in a Portuguese jersey in Madrid for pre-season.

I’d love to see that.

What do you think?