Euro 2016

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo - the best of enemies in Lyon

'It's not about two players,' says Gareth Bale 

ON THE MENU
Do you ever get the feeling Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo don’t like each other? Me too. It’s a completely groundless assertion of course particularly given the claims to the contrary. Bale, who's done a fabulous job in protecting his bald spot through these Euros, claims he gets on well with his petulant, pouting Real Madrid team-mate.

Whether they're friends or not, both men are expected to serve up one of the finest dishes in tomorrow night’s first semi-final in Lyon. Bale won his 60th cap in the Euro 2016 quarter-final against Belgium, having made his debut in 2006 to become Wales' youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and 315 days.

Ronaldo became Portugal's most capped player at Euro 2016, breaking the record of Luis Figo, and has now made 131 appearances for his country. Bale is joint fourth on Wales' all-time scoring list with Dean Saunders on 22 goals - and six short of equalling Ian Rush's record. Ronaldo is Portugal's record goalscorer with 60, far eclipsing the previous best mark of 47 set by Pauleta.

Both Bale and Ronaldo have been involved in four goals at Euro 2016. Bale leads by three goals to two with Ronaldo having an extra assist. While Ronaldo has had many more goal attempts - 32 to Bale's 20 - only nine of his efforts have been on target. That rate of 28.1 per cent compares miserably to Bale's 70 per cent - 14 of his shots being on target. Ronaldo has also shown his impatience, being caught offside 11 times compared to Bale's two.

 

TALKING POINT
Vicente Del Bosque has stepped down as Spain coach. At last! The former Real Madrid manager watched his side limp out of the competition at the second round stage to a rampant Italy side.

Del Bosque is the most decorated Spanish international manager in the country’s history. Continuing the good work of the late Luis Aragones following their Euro 2008 breakthrough win, Del Bosque guided the Spanish to the 2010 World Cup and they retained their Euro crown in 2012.

He won 87 of his 114 games, drawing 10 and losing 17. But the bald truth is Del Bosque stayed for two major championships too long. Spain crashed and burned at the 2014 World Cup finals and again at these Euros.

 

NUMBERS GAME
Want to know how many goals have been scored at Euro 2016? And when they’ve been scored? No? Well, we’re going to tell you because this is what Gallic Bites does best.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s first semi-final, there have been a grand total of 103 goals scored in 48 games. That’s exactly 2.15 goals scored per game. A goal has been scored every 43 minutes on average.

Twenty goals have been scored between the 31 and 45th minutes, while 19 goals have been scored between the 76th to 90th minutes in games. Stoppage-time goals have been popular too with nine late, late shows.

'It's not about two players,' says Gareth Bale 

TALKING SENSE
As if Chris Coleman would ever consider managing arch enemies England. The Wales manager probably expected some journalist to ask him the question. Coleman’s response was quite emphatic.

"I'm a Welshman through and through,” he said. “At international football, it was only Wales and it would only ever be Wales."

Brill-yant, Chrissy boy.

 

PLACE YOUR BET
A potentially nice double of Cristiano Ronaldo (16/5) and Gareth Bale (5/1) both scoring at any stage during tomorrow night's first semi-final looks tempting. Ronaldo is rated at 25/1 to score a hat-trick while Bale is 80/1.

 

CHAUD OR FROID
Top Gear’s audience has plummeted during Euro 2016. The motoring show’s viewers dropped by 8.6 per cent (2.7m to 1.9m) on Sunday night as attention turned to France’s quarter-final clash with Iceland in Paris...

And despite bowing out to France in the quarter-finals, Iceland certainly left their mark on these finals. The Icelandic Football Federation tweeted: ‘Thanks for the terrific ride @FFF , we will come back stronger!#ISL signing out… for now :)’

Euro 2016

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