Belfast Telegraph

Gomes and Portugal remain confident as key defender Pepe misses training

Main man: Andre Gomes is backing Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver
Main man: Andre Gomes is backing Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver

By Robert Jones

Key defender Pepe is a doubt for Portugal's Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales, although Andre Gomes is confident they have the weapons to triumph on Wednesday.

Lyon will host the biggest match in Welsh football history as Chris Coleman's men look to overcome the Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portuguese.

It is a match Fernando Santos' men approach with a question mark over Pepe after the Real Madrid centre-back missed training on Monday with a thigh complaint.

A precautionary decision it may be, yet it still raises questions over his fitness for the semi-final, which midfielder Andre Gomes says they approach confident in overcoming Gareth Bale and co.

"I know Gareth Bale from the Spanish league," the Valencia midfielder told a press conference at their team base.

"I also played against British teams in the past, so I know their way to play, their style.

"They are very strong physically, they've got a very good team.

"We are preparing to face a very strong Wales team. They attack very well. I think they counter-attack very well as well.

"But we will use our weapons the best way we can to beat them on Wednesday."

This is Portugal's fourth semi-final in five European Championships and a match they approach as favourites, thanks in no small part to being able to call upon one of the world's best.

Ronaldo has been criticised in some quarters this summer, and even mocked, but Gomes is backing his team-mate to shine.

"He has been working for the group and the group is the most important," he said.

"Maybe people were waiting for more goals, but he has made the best contribution to the team."

Belfast Telegraph