Norwich City old boy Mark Bowen tips Wales to reach Euro 2016 final
- Credit: Archant Library
Norwich City stalwart and ex-Welsh international Mark Bowen is tipping his country to dump Ronaldo's Portugal out of Euro 2016 when they meet in Wednesday's semi-final in Lyon.
Bowen is now part of Mark Hughes' backroom team at Premier League Stoke City and the former defender, who won 35 caps for the Welsh during his long stint at Carrow Road, insists the fairytale can continue for Chris Coleman's battlers.
'They are strong behind the scenes and that's important. The Russia game showed to me how they had grown having gone into that after losing to England,' he said. 'The way they passed the ball spoke of confidence and belief and togetherness. If there were doubts or issues within the team that's when you would have seen them.
'They are just playing their football and enjoying it. That's crucial and not all teams at this tournament have been able to say the same.
'Wales' momentum is such that they will go into this game thinking they can win if they stick to what they've been doing. That's a priceless mental state for any team to be in, particularly at this stage.'
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Bowen is confident the pre-match hype around Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team mate Gareth Bale will not prove a distraction with the winners going through to meet either world champions Germany or hosts France in Sunday's showpiece.
'They must not obsess about Ronaldo and Chris won't let them,' he said, in a column for the Daily Mail. 'Portugal have other quality players we know about, and Nani in particular is having a good tournament. However, I don't think Portugal are as good a side as Belgium and Wales have already beaten them.
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'For us, Gareth is the star of the team but he's probably played at about 70pc of his best out here. What has been pleasing is that other players have stepped up.
'We've not been a one-man team and that is because other players, like Joe Allen, have come to the fore. Wales are facing a side they can beat in the last four of the European Championships; it's an amazing thing to say, but it's true.'