Hudson claims New Zealand are not scared of Ronaldo and Portugal

In the second on Wednesday night, striker Oribe Peralta hit Mexico's victor in their 2-1 comeback victory over New Zealand on Wednesdayto leave them on the verge of semifinals.

Bullish New Zealand boss Anthony Hudson insists his side will not be overawed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal on Saturday as the All Whites attempt to end an encouraging Confederations Cup showing on a high.

Tempers flared in a running brawl late in Mexico's 2-1 comeback win on Wednesday in Sochi.

However, Sbornaya's 1-0 defeat against European champions Portugal in their second group game in Moscow on Wednesday, coming by way of a Cristiano Ronaldo header, means they will definitely qualify only if they beat Mexico.

Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to start on the bench tomorrow.

Portugal take on New Zealand at 4pm on Saturday, June 24. Goes without saying, Portugal are favorites to earn all three points.

The defender injured acromioclavicular-joint ligaments when he suffered a heavy fall against New Zealand and has had to leave the Mexico camp.

For Mexico, their fans have bemoaned manager Juan Carlos Osorio's rotation system leading up to and during the tournament, believing it hinders the formation of a cohesive starting 11. "But I think our players will need a good deal of luck", Mutko told TASS.

Ronaldo brushed off allegations of tax evasion in Spain with man-of-the-match performances in the 2-2 draw with Mexico and 1-0 win over Russian Federation, when he scored the victor.

"They complicated life for Mexico and the result could have been different for Mexico because of the quality of the New Zealand team. They have an experienced coach", the 62-year-old added. After Herrera's introduction, Javier Aquino forced New Zealand keeper Stefan Marinovic into a left-handed save, before Giovani dos Santos fired over.

He said: "I don't think it will be Argentina [who finishes fifth] now they have the coach they have [Jorge Sampaoli]".

But the Kiwis kept battling and with Mexico allowing them plenty of space to attack, midfielder Ryan Thomas clattered the woodwork with five minutes to go.

"So, Portugal won four games, don't forget that".

While Ronaldo is officially the world's best player, Russia's inexperienced backline were badly exposed against Portugal and could come underdone again if they are forced into facing Mexican pressure without any outlet of their own to press forward.

  • Leroy Wright