Ronaldo is playing like Andy Carroll: the only thing poorer than Portugal is the tournament itself
Paul Parker dismisses claims of glorious Wales failure, who he says failed to turn up in their semi-final defeat. The former Manchester United and England defender is scathing in his analysis of Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo and the standard of the Euro 2016 finals which he describes as the poorest tournament in living memory.
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates at the end of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Portugal and Wales.
WALES BLEW THEIR BEST CHANCE TO REACH A FINAL - PORTUGAL ARE A POOR LOT
If Wales had reached the final it would have been great. I don’t say that because I am British, but because of the way they have gone about it. They have a great spirit and there is real team ethic there.
I can’t find a good reason why Portugal winning the tournament would make me feel good about life or my Sunday dinner.
All we are hearing about Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo when you have 10 other players on the pitch. He has always made it all about him when it is a team sport.
They are a very poor team who lack a striker. I think there will be a lot of disappointment about the Wales camp and the manager Chris Coleman because they’ve missed out on a great opportunity to reach a final.
What will bother Chris is that they lost to a poor team in Portugal who were there for the beating.
That is what you are thinking as a manager. That’s the closest he has been as a coach, and I don’t think he is going to get any closer.
He didn’t come up against France or Germany. I’m sure Chris would think that was a game he could have won.
Portugal are poor defensively and don’t look like a side who are going to score a lot of goals.
They lost their best wholehearted and fastest central defender in Pepe to injury, but Wales still couldn't trouble them.
Bruno Alves can’t move and has the flexibility of a breeze block. Yet he had a comfortable game, and Wales couldn't trouble him. A massive disappointment on such a huge evening.
RAMSEY MORE OF A LOSS TO WALES THAN BALE
At the end of the day, Wales didn’t have the players who had the belief to do something different.
When Gareth Bale doesn’t have space to run at teams he isn’t a threat. I thought he was probably at his best last night in enjoying a couple of meaningful runs, but aside from Gareth Bale’s goals at the tournament, I think he has been quite disappointing.
Wales' Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale and Sam Vokes applaud fans at the end of the match.
Image credit: Eurosport
Ramsay was a massive loss to them. They missed somebody who could pass, and has the vision to make something happen. In my opinion, Wales don’t miss Bale as much as they do Ramsey.
And while it is all well and good praising Hal Robson-Kanu for his Cruyff turn and goal against Belgium, he is a lad who has run his contract down at Reading.
He is looking for a move and money, but he became the invisible man last night when the heat was on.
Is he going to get a big Premier League club? No, he’s not. When he was needed last night, he went missing. Wales couldn’t find him. The only time they found him was to take him off the pitch around the hour-mark.
RONALDO HAS MORPHED INTO BIG ANDY, AND IS LOSING PACE
Look at Portugal as a footballing side, and you see a dour, turgid team with Ronaldo playing the game like Andy Carroll.
It is not the Ronaldo of three years ago. All I saw last night was a player like Andy Carroll when he just wanted to head the ball and not run.
At one point, he was flicking the ball on and trying to chase it himself.
I thought I was watching some sort of League One match in England with the big centre forward trying to flick the ball on to the little nippy nine alongside him.
It was embarrassing watching what Ronaldo was doing. Or trying to do. You would never see Lionel Messi doing that.
Cristiano Ronaldo after portugals match against Wales and Gareth Bale
Image credit: Imago
He would be dropping off deeper and running at people. Ronaldo doesn’t want to do that because he knows he has lost that change of pace.
He hasn’t got any natural tricks, all his tricks are related to pace.
In that sense, he isn’t going to be like a Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes or Roy Keane at Manchester United, who could all read the game properly and didn’t depend upon pace to see them through games.
They matured into guys who could drop deeper because they had quick feet and good brains, and it extended their careers. Ronaldo is all about pace. You already see Wayne Rooney can’t do it at United or for England.
He has been told by Jose Mourinho this week that he can’t play in midfield. For me, that is the greatest achievement of Mourinho’s career, finally telling Rooney that he can’t play in midfield.
Ronaldo is a bit like Rooney in that sense. You have to look at him last night. You look at a player who can’t do what he used to. He is 31, and the pace won't return.
PORTUGAL REACHING FINAL DAMAGES TOURNAMENT'S REPUTATION
We can’t say Portugal are the best team in Europe if they win the European Championship. The format of 24 teams qualifying now means you don’t have to be the best team in Europe to win the trophy.
There are too many substandard games, the extra-times have been absolutely pathetic.
The European qualifiers are boring too because too many teams can access the finals. The draw for the last 16 was not what the sponsors wanted. It has absolutely killed the tournament.
Portugal's players celebrate after forward Nani scored a goal during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Portugal and Wales at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Décines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on July 6, 2016
Image credit: AFP
It made it so lopsided that an average team like Portugal with one big name can get to the final.
Wales lost goals last night you would be disappointing losing in an English Championship match.
Ronaldo ran off Ashley Williams and on to James Chester, who will be frustrated to allow Ronaldo to a get a free jump in the air. It was an amazing leap, but only because Williams lets him run away after dropping into a zonal position.
Portugal have had a lot of luck to reach the final. They’ve won one game in six in normal time to reach the final, but that is what the format lends itself to.
GERMAN TEAMS DON'T MISS PENALTY KICKS, SOMETHING IS WRONG
Given all that has happening at this tournament, it needs France to win it. It would give their league a lift as Ligue 1 isn’t viewed in the highest regard, and this would bring back some integrity to their domestic game.
When you are looking at the Germans, there is nothing really there. They will miss Mario Gomez and Mats Hummels, but they need more from guys like Thomas Muller. If they don’t win the tournament, I think they may have to rebuild for the World Cup in 2018 because there are a few horses flagging at this moment in time.
They even missed three penalties against Italy in the quarter-final shoot-out yet still won. Germany teams don't miss penalty kicks. Something is wrong.
Giroud, Griezmann et Pogba lors de France-Islande
Image credit: AFP
But then something is wrong with the European Championship. It has been the worst in living memory.
European football at the international level is poor when you see average sides like the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the last 16. It is a poor tournament, but the standard of football in Europe in countries is not the best at the moment.
I think it now needs France or Germany to become champions to give the event credibility.
A bang average side like Portugal, and that is being kind to them, shouldn't be anywhere near Paris this weekend.