EURO 2016 semifinal preview: Schedule, picks, key battles

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The EURO 2016 semifinals are upon us and we are down to the nitty gritty of this month long tournament.

[ MORE: Latest news from EURO 2016 ]

Portugal face Wales as Ronaldo and Bale do battle, while hosts France square off against World champs Germany.

Yep, the next few days will be fun.

Below you will find everything you need to know on both semifinals as four teams remain and aim to book their spot in the EURO 2016 final in Paris this Sunday.


Portugal vs. Wales – Wednesday, July 6, 3 p.m. ET

LILLE, FRANCE - JULY 01: Gareth Bale (C) and Wales players celebrate their team's 3-1 win after the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Wales and Belgium at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on July 1, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Where
Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon

Live 
Commentary live via NBCSports.com

Key battle
Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Ashley Williams – Yes, we could put Ronaldo vs. Bale here but they won’t actually come up against one another in a head on duel. Wales’ captain Williams will be tasked with stopping Ronaldo and the Swansea City captain has been struggling with injury. That said, he put in a heroic performance against Belgium to stop their talent but Ronaldo is, well, Ronaldo. You feel like he’s due a massive performance.

Injuries/suspensions
William Carvalho (Portugal, suspended), Pepe (Portugal, minor doubt); Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies (Both Wales, suspended)

What they’re saying

Chris Coleman (Wales manager) – “When I looked at the group we were in the tournament, I thought we were capable of getting out of the group. You never know who you’ll get in the last 16, and then the quarter-final. I thought that was a possibility. I told the players that, that I genuinely believed we arrive at that stage. I didn’t know what would happen after that, if I’m honest. But we’ve got a good team.”

Fernando Santos (Portugal manager) – “I’m not worried about being the ugly duckling, I’m interested about getting to the final and winning it. Would I like us to be pretty? Yes. But, in between being pretty and being at home, or being ugly and being here, I prefer to be ugly.”

Prediction
Portugal to win, 2-1 – Ronaldo will win the battle of the superstars against Bale. Yes, Wales have done superbly to get here but not having Ramsey will be a big loss. Portugal will hang in there and let Ronaldo do his thing, plus Nani will also have a big say in this game. The Welsh defense has stood strong so far but on his day, Ronaldo can rip anybody apart.


Germany vs. France – Thursday, July 7, 3 p.m. ET

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Joachim Loew, head coach of the German national team talks to his player Thomas Mueller during a Germany training session ahead of the UEFA EURO 2016 at Ermitage Evian on June 9, 2016 in Evian-les-Bains, France. Germany's opening match at the European Championship is against Ukraine on June 12. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Where
Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Live 
Commentary live via NBCSports.com

Key battle
Mesut Ozil vs. N'Golo Kante – Can Ozil get on the ball and dictate the tempo? He certainly got some joy against Kante in the PL this season but the German playmaker may have to float out to the flanks to do the damage.

Injuries/suspensions
Mats Hummels (Germany, suspended), Mario Gomez, Sami Khedira, (Both Germany, injured), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, doubtful)

What they’re saying

Joachim Low (Germany manager) – “It would be easy to push them into that position. You could say that we have many injured players, France have the home advantage and therefore they are favorites, but that just doesn’t count during the 90 minutes. It will be a match at ‘eye level.’ I relish those games. I love knockout matches against such teams.”

Didier Deschamps (France manager) – “It will be a huge match, and we have to give our all. We’re going to really go for it against the best side in the world. They had a few problems against Italy, but Germany are Germany.”

Prediction
Germany to win 1-0 – I think Germany will grind out another result. This won’t be a classic, folks, and the winner of this game will likely win the tournament. The pressure will be on both teams and although France’s attack blew Iceland away in the quarterfinal, they’ve blown hot and cold throughout this tournament. Despite injuries and suspensions, ruthless German efficiency will prevail.