If the first knock out round is the ‘business end of the competition’ then presumably the semi-finals are les grande fromages of the business end.
Portugal will need to tread caerphilly (BOOMBOOM!)as they face the magic that is Wales. TLF does find herself slightly conflicted, having wiped from the memory banks, almost as soon as the name was out of le chapeau, that Portugal were one of her sweepstake teams. And indeed are now her only sweepstake team. Financial advantage versus the story of the tournament? No contest; TLF is on the hunt for some Welsh ancestry.
One thing that definitely won’t make it anywhere this evening are the team’s offspring. You may have seen the Welsh players frolicking with their nippers at the end of every game. Now however the UEFA elf has ruled that this is interdit. (elf and safety… ). Apparently the pitch is not a safe place for children, “It is a European Championship not a family party….it is not a safe place if fans invaded the field and with stadium staff operating machinery on the playing surface,” a UEFA Grinch explained.
Similarly missing due to what could be interpreted as a bit of UEFA harshness are Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies. Two yellow cards in five games mean a one match suspension for both of them. There are no easy solutions to managing persistent offenders in a tournament but TLF is not convinced that this is the best one. It could mean a first start for Lesta’s Andy King or, as the Evening Standard predicted (with no locational bias at all…honest), could see both the suspended London based players be replaced by a further two London based players.
For the press of course, they find it hard not to be distracted by the story that is Bale v the man who throws microphones into lakes. But it would be mad to detract from their team mates who are way more than a supporting cast to the Real Madrid megastars.
It would be harsh on Wales to lose to a Portugal team that have not exactly set the tournament alight. So cross your fingers/des doigts/bysedd and anything else about your person and invoke the 12 year rule (tell you tomorrow).
Dewch ‘malen Cymru!
Le Demi Final 1, Ce soir
Portugal V Wales, 8pm, Stade de Lyon, Lyon
Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF
To think you are God’s gift.
Se croire sorti de la misse de Jupiter
(To think you are the gift of Jupiter)
“I don’t like to say it, Cristiano but se croire sorti de la misse de Jupiter