Cristiano Ronaldo made European Championship history as Portugal ended Wales's extraordinary Euro 2016 journey with a 2-0 semi-final win on Wednesday that sent them into the final.

In what was billed as a shootout between Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, it was the Portugal captain who prevailed, opening the scoring in Lyon with a majestic 50th-minute header that saw him tie France great Michel Platini's record of nine goals at the Euro finals.

He also teed up Nani for Portugal's second goal three minutes before consoling his club colleague Bale on the pitch at the end.

Fernando Santos's men now go on to a Sunday showdown at the Stade de France with either Germany or hosts France, who meet in Marseille on Thursday.

Ronaldo exults after the final whistle. AFP

It will be only Portugal's second major final after Euro 2004, when a 19-year-old Ronaldo was left in tears on the Estadio da Luz pitch in Lisbon after the hosts were beaten 1-0 by Greece.

While Ronaldo -- whose three goals leave him one short of France's tournament top scorer Antoine Griezmann -- closes in on what would be his first international trophy, Bale and Wales's dreams of emulating Greece ultimately came up short.

Missing the suspended Aaron Ramsey, they failed to test a Portugal team who had not previously won inside 90 minutes at the tournament.

But having reached the last four in their first major competition since the 1958 World Cup, Chris Coleman's side and their redoubtable red-shirted fans leave France with their reputation immeasurably enhanced.

Ronaldo had to wait until the 44th minute until his first sight of goal, heading over from Adrien Silva's inswinging left-flank cross, while Joao Mario dragged a shot across goal and wide.

Ronaldo and Bale after the match ended. The game was billed as a battle between the two superstars. AFP

With Ramsey absent, there was even more onus than usual on Bale to make things happen for Wales and he was the stand-out player in an otherwise flat first period.

But if the first half was all about Bale, the second was all about Ronaldo.

A short corner on Portugal's left yielded the opening goal five minutes after the restart.

Raphael Guerreiro curled a cross to the back post and Ronaldo leapt above James Chester, seeming to hang in the air, before powering a header past Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey's flailing left hand.

Wales had taken control of the game after falling behind to Belgium in the quarter-finals, ultimately winning 3-1, but Portugal gave them no chance of doing that by scoring a second goal within three minutes.

Ronaldo was this time the provider, albeit inadvertently, as his mishit shot was prodded into the net by his former Manchester United team-mate Nani.

Feature image source: AFP