European champion Portugal is not only about Ronaldo

Toni Houston
June 27, 2017

Despite the support of a packed Kazan Arena, the hosts were unable to keep up their end of the bargain and took their leave of the competition.

But despite handsome goals from Bernardo Silva, Nani and a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo, AC Milan striker André Silva was the one to impress with a 79th minute wonder run from the half-way line leading to a gob-smacking goal.

Portugal's all-time leading scorer swept the ball home in the 33rd minute, his 75th goal for his country, and Bernardo Silva added the second four minutes later.

Russian Federation had raised the hopes of their fans by taking a first-half lead through Alexander Samedov but were quickly pegged back by Nestor Araujo's equaliser on the half hour.

European champion Portugal outclassed a typically robust New Zealand team which extended its winless Confederations Cup run to 12 games across four editions.

"We're obviously at a disadvantage", Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said.

Andre Silva dribbled deep into the New Zealand penalty area to score with a rising shot in the 80th and substitute Nani shot low past goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in stoppage time.

"But I think the New Zealand team should have scored a goal - they deserved one".


"We knew it could be complicated because we had seen New Zealand play Mexico and the problems they caused the Mexicans", said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.

St Petersburg stadium will be the flagship venue at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

In a Group A match between Portugal and New Zealand's Cristiano Ronaldo's goal from penalty ensured the former qualify for semifinal as a group topper.

Russian Federation fought valiantly in Kazan but the hosts could not avoid early elimination from the Confederations Cup, losing 2-1 to Mexico, who join the Group A winners, Portugal, in the semi-finals after the European champions beat last-place New Zealand 4-0 in St Petersburg. 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.

Hirving Lozano then made it two for Mexico after a costly error from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev in the second half.

Akinfeev failed to clear a bouncing ball, allowing Lozano to sneak in and score the victor seven minutes into the second half.

In 2010, the United Kingdom was Russia's key competitor for the right to host the World Cup in 2018.

"I'm confident that all the players who've taken part in the tournament will draw on the experience to develop and mature", he said.

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