Portugal & Mexico sail into Semi Finals of FIFA Confederations Cup

Esther Moore
June 27, 2017

Both Portugal and Mexico will know their semifinal opponents tomorrow after the Group B matches.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, scores his side's first goal on a penalty during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

The 22-year-old, who completed his move to the Premier League club from Ligue 1 champions Monaco for a reported fee of £43million in May, hurt his ankle in Portugal's 4-0 Confederations Cup win against New Zealand on Saturday.

Portugal topped Group A with seven points from three games, ahead of Mexico on goal difference after the CONCACAF champions beat hosts Russian Federation 2-1.

The All Whites created the best early chance, with Dane Ingham finding Wood free in the box, but the Leeds striker dragged his shot straight at goal keeper Rui Patricio.

The summer AC Milan signing nearly grabbed his brace in the final moments, and there was enough time for Nani to make it 4-0 as the clock ticked towards the final whistle.

"We are very happy to be in the semi-finals", he said. "We are making steps in the right directions". Russia's hopes of a comeback were further hampered in the final 20 minutes when Yury Zhirkov was sent off for a second yellow card.

Hector Moreno had the ball in the net in the 61st minute but the Video Assistan Referees ruled the goal out for an offside.

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"I've seen too many presentations by Federation Internationale de Football Association, straight out of fantasy land, about how they don't have a problem". "We started the game really well, and were the stronger of the two teams. It was an important victory for Mexican football".

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.

The strategy helped Ronaldo get his 75th worldwide goal and Portugal an ultimately easy 4-0 win at the Confederations Cup on Saturday.

Things went from bad to worse for Russian Federation 22 minutes from the end when Zhirkov was given his marching orders, and there was no way back for the hosts. Araujo headed the ball into the opposite corner, over goalkeeper Akinfeev.

With both teams finishing group play on seven points, Portugal advances as the victor of Group A due to its superior goal advantage. The ball took a high bounce and started to fall just at the edge of Akinfeev's box.

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 defense.

Ronaldo helped to put them in control of the contest, after being presented with an opportunity to convert from the penalty spot. Play had continued for about 30 seconds before the game was stopped for the review. A scramble in front of the Mexican goal eventually led to Russia's Aleksandr Samedov putting a left-footed shot past Guillermo Ochoa.

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