Sport

Portugal, Mexico, Russia tussle for semi-final berths

Portugal, Mexico, Russia tussle for semi-final berths”

Cristiano Ronaldo's 75th worldwide goal helped lift Portugal to an easy 4-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday and into the Confederations Cup semifinals.

It appeared that the scoring in Saint Petersburg had ended but in the first minute of added-on time, Nani found the bottom corner of the net from 16 yards to wrap up a convincing success.

A clash with the tournament hosts - who need a win to go through to the semi-finals - looks tricky on paper but Osorio thinks it is the flawless game for his players to prove their mental fortitude by claiming the point they need to advance.

European champions Portugal have done their homework on football minnows New Zealand with coach Fernando Santos predicting an all-out attack against their Confederations Cup rivals at Krestovsky Stadium today.

In the semifinals, Portugal will play on Wednesday in Kazan against the runner-up in Group B, which is now Germany before the final group games Sunday.

They will be without Pepe though, who picked up a needless booking and will be suspended.

Deklan Wynne and Kip Colvey, who will likely come in for young Dane Ingham, will make up the left and right wingbacks respectively. "Without a doubt, big events, such as the Confederations Cup, have that "Olympic effect" on investors urging them to come to some country or region", she told TASS when asked about the economic effect that the authorities expected from holding the Confederations Cup matches in Tatarstan's capital of Kazan.

In the 80th minute, despite his 33 years, it was Quaresma again who won possession before feeding Andre Silva for the third.

Ronaldo was the one to break the deadlock, dispatching an emphatic penalty beyond Stefan Marinovic.

Mexico had a second-half goal by defender Hector Moreno disallowed for offside after video review. It's only New Zealand, but eight goals in 11 worldwide appearances suggest there is plenty to come. Shots in the sixth and 76th minutes lacked power to test goalkeeper Rui Patricio, and defender Bruno Alves blocked a low shot at the far post in the 59th.

Ronaldo's eighth-minute header in Moscow gave Portugal their first win in the tournament.

In the end, only one achieved their aim, Portugal easing through to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup while New Zealand's wait for a win at this tournament stretched to a 12th match.

Mexico turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win and a spot in the next round of the 2017 Confederations Cup against hosts Russian Federation on Saturday.

Although proceedings took a while to heat up, Portugal was ultimately good value for its triumph and looks set to face either Chile or Germany in the final four of the competition, as two of its rising stars answered the challenge alongside the more experienced Ronaldo and Nani to clinch top spot.

It was their first goal in 555 minutes of Confederations Cup football, but Mexico's Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta struck in the second half as the Kiwis faded.



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