Confed Cup hosts Russia face decisive match against Mexico

Confed Cup hosts Russia face decisive match against Mexicoā€¯

Russian Federation were knocked out after losing 2-1 to Mexico in Kazan, another setback for the hosts of next year's World Cup who have recently become accustomed to early exits from global tournaments.

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev endured a miserable match, failing to keep out Nestor Araujo's looping header in the first half before completely misjudging a Mexico clearance and allowing Hirving Lozano to score the victor.

Russian Federation continued to be the better attacking side throughout the first half hour, though, and almost scored in the 24th minute.

"We will play a hard opponent whoever that will be, Chile or Germany, two great teams".

"We respect other teams but we are not afraid of anyone".

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal has not scored in only 1 game from his previous 8 games for Portugal, netting 13 goals in the remaining 7 combined.

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

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. "My team did the best they could".

Portugal coach Fernando Santos gave New Zealand a boost by withdrawing Ronaldo 23 minutes from the end, but substitute Nani almost made a swift impact, latching on to Quaresma's cross and slamming a powerful shot at Marinovic from 10 yards.

Mexico completed their comeback shortly after half-time when Herrera launched a long ball forward from his own third.

While New Zealand only has one professional club and the national team is made of players deployed at various levels across the globe, Portugal were able to start with two Champions League winners in Ronaldo and Real Madrid teammate Pepe.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said the scoreline didn't reflect the intensity of the match and felt New Zealand deserved a goal.

Mexico defender Nestor Araujo equalised in the 30th minute with a looping header.

Mexico needs just a draw to confirm advancement.

The linesman's flag denied Spartak Moscow's Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano's fearless gamble paid off. Araujo headed the ball into the opposite corner, over goalkeeper Akinfeev.

Mexico made eight changes for the second game against New Zealand and will be without defender Carlos Salcedo, while PSV Eindhoven's Hector Moreno is also a doubt.

But one of Russia's best chances was still to come when substitute Igo Smolnikov also sent his shot over the crossbar from very close range.

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This post was syndicated from The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper - Nigeria and World News.

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