Aaron Ramsey Wales
Ramsey will be a big miss for Wales. Pictured: Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring for Wales in their Euro 2016 match against Russia, June 20, 2016Reuters

Can Wales cope without the energy, guile and creativity of Aaron Ramsey? That is the big question as Gareth Bale and co. head into their country's biggest ever match – a Euro 2016 semifinal against Portugal.

This match in Lyon represents a further-history-making opportunity for Wales, who have been one of the best teams in the European Championships and deservedly find themselves in a position to make it to their first ever final in a major tournament.

However, doing that will not be easy, because not only do they come up against a Portugal team that boasts of Cristiano Ronaldo, but they also run up against a side who have choked the life out of most of the teams that they have faced.

The fact that there has been no life going forward for Portugal is something that will cheer up Chris Coleman, however, especially considering he will be without one of his first-choice defenders for this semifinal at the Stade de Lyon.

Along with Ramsey, Ben Davies is also suspended for this match, after picking up a yellow card in the brilliant quarterfinal win over Belgium. James Collins is the man most likely to replace Davies in the back three, and the West Ham centre-back is a pretty able backup to have.

Coleman also has the option to move Chris Gunter, who has played as the right wingback in this Euro 2016, inside and play Jazz Richards on the right, but it does look like Collins, who came on as a late substitute in the quarterfinal, will get the nod.

Ramsey's replacement in the starting XI is likely to be Jonny Williams, and the Crystal Palace man has big boots to fill, considering the Arsenal midfielder has not just been one of Wales' best performers, but one of the best players in the tournament, scoring one goal and notching four assists over the five matches so far.

"Some of Aaron Ramsey's performances have been off the chart," Coleman told reporters. "Davies' performances have been outstanding. Both players would be a loss to any team.

"But the attitude of the players who haven't played has been fantastic and that has kept the dressing room really strong and kept the vibe really positive."

Think positive will be Portugal's mantra as well, considering they are the only team to have reached the semifinals without winning a single match over the 90 minutes. Having drawn three in a row in the group stages, it took until extra time for Ronaldo's side to extinguish Croatia's hopes of a deep run, before a penalty shootout victory was needed against Poland in the quarterfinals.

It is safe to say that Portugal have been quite underwhelming so far in this tournament, and yet, they find themselves one win – be that over the 90 minutes, 120 minutes or a penalty shootout – away from the final of Euro 2016.

Helping them get that win, however, will not be William Carvalho, who is suspended, while Pepe, outstanding at the back for Portugal, is a major doubt after picking up a thigh injury in training. Portugal manager Fernando Santos has an experienced centre-back in Ricardo Carvalho to call upon if Pepe does not make it in time, while Danilo is a like-for-like replacement for Carvalho.

Raphael Guerreiro, who missed the quarterfinal against Poland, is likely to return to the starting XI, in place of Eliseu.

The big question for Portugal is if they will be able to fire going forward. Ronaldo has not looked himself, while Nani has waged a lone battle a little too often. The inclusion of the 18-year-old Renato Sanches has added some pep to their attack, but they will need a lot more than that to beat this Wales side.

Confirmed starting XI: Portugal: Rui Patricio; Cedric, Fonte, Bruno Alves, Guerreiro; Joao Mario, Danilo, Renato Sanches, Adrien Silva; Nani, Ronaldo.

Wales: Hennessey; Chester, A Williams, Collins; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, King, Taylor, Bale, Robson-Kanu.

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