FIFA Confederations Cup: Portugal, Mexico through to semi-final

Ruben Hill
June 25, 2017

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference.

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

"They complicated life for Mexico and the result could have been different for Mexico because of the quality of the New Zealand team".

"I think, in some cases, the opponents scored very quickly [in other matches] even if they maybe didn't deserve it".

"They are the hosts and they really needed to win this game".

Portugal's Bernardo Silva, right, scores his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017. "We are building a team that is showing that it can play against any opponent in any situation". We have to be better and more consistent, stronger in both ways. "They're a team with great spirit and capacity". New Zealand finished bottom of the group after losing all three games.

Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russian Federation for top spot.

Eliseu and Quaresma linked well on the left, with the full-back then playing the ball across the face of goal for Bernardo Silva to stab home from close range.

Ronaldo left the New Zealand keeper Stefan Marinovic helpless with his precise penalty shot into the top right corner in the 33rd minute.

Ronaldo has scored 33 goals in 33 games for club and country in 2017.

After conceding the first goal in the 25th minute, Mexico came from behind to beat the hosts.

Igor Akinfeev was then left embarrassed as Lozano nipped in front of the Russian Federation goalkeeper to head in from the edge of the area on 52 minutes after a towering clearance caused chaos in the home defence.

Russia's early exit from was another setback for next year's World Cup hosts who also went out of last year's European Championship at the group stage, when they failed to win a game and were regarded by many as the worst team in the tournament.

Mexico thought they had extended their lead in the 60th minute but Hector Moreno's goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee after a review. After striker Fedor Smolov struck the post with a long-range shot and Zhirkov had his shot saved by Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, Russia kept possession and sent the ball back into the area, where Aleksandr Erokhin missed a chance before Samedov picked up his pass and sent a precise low shot into the far corner.

Mexico was level within five minutes, however, as Araujo looped a header across goal that deceived Akinfeev and nestled into the net.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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