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Shearer says: “Wales can go home with their heads held high”

| 10.07.2016
SPORTSBOOK ODDS

It’s been a staggering campaign for Wales. What they achieved, how they got there and the whole demeanour around the Welsh was refreshing. They fully deserved it. They took everything in their stride and they made a lot of fans during the tournament.

I was at their semi-final in Lyon where before, during and after the game their fans were just superb. They were very appreciative of what the players had given them and vice versa. It is the way it should be. They can all go home with their heads held high.

There was hardly anything in the game before Ronaldo’s piece of brilliance. His header then changed everything. The second goal came soon after which you could see the air sucked out of the Welsh players. To be fair to them though, they did not cave in at that point. They gave it everything but unfortunately they were beaten by the better side on the night.

Portugal v Wales - UEFA Euro 2016 - Semi-Final - Stade de Lyon

It was a superb header from Ronaldo. You can practice set-pieces and defending all day on the training ground but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say that was a piece of brilliance. The way he stayed in the air, timed the header and the power he got behind it, was remarkable. We’ve seen that on numerous occasions with Ronaldo. Trying to defend Ronaldo when he can leap that high and generate that much power is arguably impossible.

In the game last night, Germany dominated possession, however, as we have seen countless times, particularly in the Premier League last season, if you have possession, you have to do something with it. Germany did not have that killer-instinct. They were missing Mario Gomez who was out through injury and Thomas Muller has not had the same tournament which he had two years ago where he was superb at the World Cup.

I did think it was a harsh penalty. Schweinsteiger led with his arm but it was ball to hand. He had no time to react. We had a bit of a disagreement in the BBC studio. Thierry Henry and Rio Ferdinand both felt it was a penalty and I was arguing otherwise. I don’t think you can say that was a deliberate handball. It was a big turning point in the game.

The second goal was a clever and cute finish from Griezmann. It was a mistake from Neuer that led to it, something you don’t often see. Griezmann has been the player of the tournament so far and the top goalscorer. When you have someone who can put the ball in the back of the net like he does, you always have a chance.

Germany v France - UEFA Euro 2016 - Semi Final - Stade Velodrome

Didier Deschamps also deserves a lot of credit in this tournament so far. When he has had to make big decisions, he has got it right. He left Griezmann and Pogba out of the second game of the tournament. He also chose to play Sissoko instead of Kante last night. Everything seems to have worked perfectly for him.

I do think France are going to be hard to beat in the final. They have got better with every game in this tournament and to come through the test of Germany like they did, they certainly deserve to be favourites to lift the trophy now.

Portugal have done really well to make the final after finishing third in their group. They have not been the most attractive side to watch but they have been tough to beat. When you have Ronaldo in your team, you will always have a chance, it does not matter who you are up against.

Who do you think will win Sunday’s showdown in Paris? Get yourself over to Coral and back your selection now!

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Related

Check out the Shearer Says archive for more of Alan’s blogs from Euro 2016.

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Author

Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer played his entire career at the top level of English football, winning the Premier League title with Blackburn in 1994-95. The following summer he signed for his hometown club, Newcastle United, for a then world record £15 million fee.

He ended his playing career with a record 260 Premier League goals, which still stands today. He also won 63 caps for England, including 34 as captain, and among his 30 international goals were five scored at Euro 96, a total that won him the Golden Boot at that tournament.

Now the chief pundit on Match Of The Day, Alan was one of the first two players inducted into the Premier League Hall Of Fame this year.