Portugal, Mexico reach Confederations Cup semifinals

In another Group A match, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal gained a comfortable 4-0 win over New Zealand.

A 34th-minute Cristiano Ronaldo penalty opened the scoring for Portugal against the Kiwis, who had already been knocked out but were eager to go out on a high note, before Bernardo Silva doubled the European champions' advantage three minutes later.

The New Zealand side maintained 2-0 trashing status quo till 80th minute when Andre Silva scored the third goal and Luis Carlos, popularly known as' Nani' crowned the goals in the first minute of extra time.

A Hirving Lozano goal in the 52nd minutes proved to be the difference in Mexico's 2-1 victory over hosts Russian Federation in Kazan, with Portugal rolling to a 4-0 victory over New Zealand in the other group match in St. Petersburg. Several players missed clear scoring opportunities throughout the match in front of 41,585 fans at Kazan Arena. But the lead lasted just five minutes when on the half hour mark Araujo looped a header over Igor Akinfeev from a freakish free kick awarded for hand ball.

New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, who helped Unterhaching win promotion from the German fourth division last season, kept the score down with a superb second-half display. "I hope that our next matches will be played against top teams, we have won the hearts and minds to an extent in this month we have been together and we have some reasons to feel optimistic", he added.

Portugal dominated all aspects of play early on Sunday (AEST), firing in 22 attempts on goal with 12 on target and earning 12 corners to New Zealand's one.

Just one World Cup host in history - South Africa in 2010 - has failed to get out of the group stage.

"We will move on", coach Stanislav Cherchesov said after Saturday's 2-1 loss to Mexico.

After conceding the first goal in the 25th minute, Mexico came from behind to beat the hosts.

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.

Juan Carlos Osorio's side went 2-1 up seven minutes after the break thanks to Hirving Lozano's third global goal, before Russian Federation had Yuri Zhirkov sent off for picking up a second booking in the 68th minute.

Substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound Russia's misery.

Mexico had a second-half goal by the defender Héctor Moreno disallowed for offside after video review.

He had found the net in every game with Portugal this season until being deprived in the Confederations Cup opener against Mexico last week, when he was still decisive by setting up Ricardo Quaresma's opening goal.

  • Leroy Wright