Confederations Cup: Portugal ease into semis, Mexico dump out Russian Federation

25 Juin, 2017, 13:20 | Author: Marc Bacque
  • Germany will play Cameroon in the Confederations Cup Group A soccer match scheduled for Sunday

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty in the 33rd minute to put Portugal ahead as his side eased through to the semifinals. Newly-signed AC Milan striker Andre Silva scored with ten minutes to play, before the experienced Nani added a fourth late on.

It was a typically efficient performance from Portugal who never looked in real danger despite a sluggish start.

Portugal will be without defender Pepe, who is suspended for a second yellow card in the tournament.

Santos said Portugal had been wary heading into the game early on Sunday (NZT), despite New Zealand's lowly 95th world ranking.

New Zealand sought to tighten things up at the back at the start of the second half, with their surrounding of Ronaldo on one instance indicative of a relative improvement.

The Confederations Cup is a prelude to next year's World Cup, which also will be played in Russian Federation.

"It was a hard pitch where the grass was somewhat too long and it was nearly impossible to play better than we did", he told Portuguese media after picking up his third successive man-of-the-match award.

"We have the most trendy journalists nowadays", he told a news conference. We are still building a team that is able to show that they have the skills and determination to play against anybody.

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The team's loss comes after an early departure from last year's European Championship - when it was unable to gain a victory and was regarded as one of the worst-performing teams in the tournament.

The win, however, came at a cost as Manchester City-bound midfielder Bernardo Silva was substituted because of an ankle injury.

Nani completed the All Whites misery with a blistering left foot finish in the 91st minute, although Shane Smeltz and Kosta Barbarouses combined in a neat exchange soon after but lacked the quality finish. "Unfortunately, we didn't react to their goals and then had a man sent off, even then we tried to score".

Hosts Russia have been knocked out by Mexico in the FIFA Confederations Cup, after going down 1-2 in the last group match played today.

But the goal sparked Mexico into life and they were level just five minutes later. A sensational ball from Hector Herrera found Araujo in the box, and the defender sent a looping header over Igor Akinfeev.

"We definitely want to be back here next year [for the World Cup] and we will take some of the positives out of Mexico and this game back home and work on them".

Russian Federation suffered a further blow when Yury Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes and substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound their misery. Goal Alexander Samedov (25 minutes) the Mexicans answered with exact blows of Nestor Araujo (30) and Irving Lozano (52).

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