Both teams used half-pressing, but it was a logical step. Let Ronaldo or even Bale to have huge spaces would have been dangerous.
Wales’s awful possession game
Portugal kept the 4-1-3-2 formation even without the ball. This formation might be disadvantageous in defence. As it’s too wide, it might cause some problems in horizontal compactness.
But Wales was unable to do short build-up from the outset. RCB and LCB were playing in the wings, instead of half-spaces, so their horizontal circulation was terribly slow, Portuguese defence had enough time to make shifts.
The occupation of the middle third was awful. Even if the midfield triangle made some vertical switches, it had no function as they couldn’t exploit any space behind the midfield line of the opponent. Neither of them were playing in the half-space, so they couldn’t take adventage of the width of Portugal at all. Bale often dropped back as usual, but even if he got the ball, he had no passing options, so Wales could only create chances after long balls.
Wales’ issues in possession: LCB and RCB are too wide. Players in red circle have no vertical passing option. Good luck…
Portugal in possession
Portugal’s possession game was wing-oriented. They did well the ball-oriented shifts, so their build-up was relatively effective. However, they could just penetrate after long balls. Ronaldo often dropped back but none of the midfielders cutted into the defence, so Portugal never had enough player in the final third.
Portugal scored twice quickly thanks to Ronaldo’s header and Nani’s tap-in. Wales was in a big trouble. Coleman switched in three forwards and changed to four-man-defence, but the main problem of his team wasn’t solved. Bale began to play in the right side and he was waiting for diagonal balls. Wales wasn’t afraid yet to send long balls into the final third, but they weren’t dangerous at all.
It would have been an interesting question if Wales could do high pressure well, but Portugal had to build-up from the back just a few times and Rui Patricio knocked the ball far away without taking any risk.
Red-circle- game still: Wales in the 2nd half in possession
Wales had no chance to win with their terrible positional play. I wasn’t really satisfied even with Portugal. They had some issues in possession. Their main chance for their first Euro title might be their safety game plan shown against Croatia and Poland.