Confed Cup hosts Russian Federation face decisive match against Mexico

Mexico now advances to play the host of the tournament, Russia, in the group finale on Saturday.

The game against host nation Russian Federation will mean more to Mexico than just a spot in the Confederations Cup semifinal.

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. They cheered when Ronaldo was on the big screens, even during Portugal's national anthem, and gave him an ovation when substituted midway through the second half. "We know very much what we need to do".

Federation Internationale de Football Association has tried to stop the practice of teams kicking the ball out of play to allow treatment to injured opponents after it became routinely abused by players feigning injury to waste time or break up an attack.

New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson defended his players and said the fact they were able to fully test the more fancied Mexicans was a more likely reason for their frustration.

He has been accused by Spanish authorities of evading 14.7 million euros ($16.5m) in tax and has been summoned to appear in court next month in Madrid.

But he was all smiles, escorting a young mascot in a wheelchair out onto the Moscow pitch before netting his first Confederations Cup goal.

Portugal will be without Raphael Guerreiro on Saturday, though the Borussia Dortmund defender could return in the tournament.

"We are not thinking about the semi-final", Cherchesov said. A great cross to the back post found Ronaldo, completely unchallenged, who calmly headed home past Akinfeev.

The hosts were unlucky not to force an equalizer after a string of chances in a strong second-half display.

Although Mexico dragged themselves back into the game and scraped the win due to goals from Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta, the Kiwis nearly leveled when midfielder Ryan Thomas rattled the crossbar in the closing stages.

Russian Federation need to beat Mexico in Kazan to avoid their prospects hinging on a Portugal loss, while a point would be enough for the Mexicans to advance.

"We always understood and respected their way of playing, a very direct type of football, with a lot of contact".

"If we play like we did the other night, I have all the confidence in the world".

Speaking ahead of the match against New Zealand in St Petersburg, Santos chuckled his way though a question from a Brazilian journalist asking whether his team were now better to watch before delivering a withering riposte.

Mexico equalised when Aquino broke down the left flank and passed to Marco Fabian, who squared for forward Jimenez to fire home on 54 minutes.

  • Zachary Reyes