PORTUGAL-WALES

The Bale obsession: Portugal out to stop him any way they can

Portugal's plan to stop the Cardiff Express is to starve him of space and avoid giving up fouls in dangerous areas; Cristiano Ronaldo: "I know Bale and know well what he's capable of"
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Fernando Santos knows that Portugal's ticket to the final rests on their ability to stop Gareth Bale. With that motive in mind, Portugal have been training with a very deep line to nuetralise the threat of the Welsh flyer.

The first plank in the anti-Bale drawbridge designed by the Portuguese manager is to deny the no.11 space to operate and ground to run into with his dangerous pace.

"We know how Wales will play", announced central midfielder Danilo, who will step in for the injured William Carvalho, "very aggressive in midfield to try and rob the ball and release Bale on the counter. We have to reduce the space for him to run into and try and play together", he explained.

Bale's terrifying shot also has the Lusos worried, and they will try and avoid giving him an opportunity to show the damage he can do by not giving away any fould close to goal.

Fernando Santos will also benefit from the counsel that Cristiano Ronaldo can provide, knowing him so well from their shared occupancy at Real Madrid. Ramsey missing for Wales will be a huge advantage for Portugal and it looks like André Gomes will be tasked with keeping Gareth Bale quiet.

Portugal fear Bale, and from the video above, that's hardly a surprise.