FIFA Confederations Cup: Portugal, Mexico through to semi-final


What: New Zealand vs. Portugal in Confederations Cup Group A play.

European champions Portugal comfortably dispatched New Zealand 4-0 to reach the Confederations Cup semi-finals on Saturday after Cristiano Ronaldo set them on their way with a penalty.

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.

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.

Forward Andre Silva wrapped up the comfortable victory with a fierce angled finish on 80 minutes and Nani added a fourth in stoppage time.

The tournament involves Russian Federation (host country), Germany (2014 World Cup winner), Australia (Asian Cup winner), sChile (American Cup winner), Mexico (CONCACAF Gold Cup holder), Portugal (European champion), Cameroon (Africa Cup of Nations winner) and New Zealand (OFC Nations Cup winner).

While there is still the smallest of chances that Portugal's draw against Mexico could come back to haunt them at the end of the 90 minutes, the European Champions are expected to cruise past the Anthony Hudson's men, who in Captain Chris Wood's words, are going to play to win.

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Portugal will be without defender Pepe, who is suspended for a second yellow card in the tournament.

Ronaldo buried the resultant penalty beyond Stefanovic to draw level with former Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and within nine goals of the legendary Ferenc Puskas' European record of 84 at global level. Three times he arrowed the ball too close to Marinovic, who had to leap to push one first-half effort against the crossbar.

When Ronaldo began to dominate All Whites defenders in the air midway through the first half, an aerial challenge saw him left in a heap. Midfielder Danilo was pushed and tripped trying to meet the ball from a corner.

His replacement, the instantly recognisable Nani, forced another superb Marinovic intervention before Andre Silva skipped forward and skilfully created room from his marker to fire an angled shot high past the sprawling All Whites gloveman.

According to the latest statistics, there were an average of 2.6 goals scored during each of the eight games already played at this year's Confederations Cup. Mexico gifted them an early goal, and continued to make things hard into the second half.

"The Portuguese probably don't want to be playing New Zealand right now".