Portugal weighs resting Ronaldo for New Zealand game

Sergey Savostianov  TASS

The hosts face Mexico in Kazan on Saturday realistically needing a win to seal their place in the semi-finals, given that they are a point behind Mexico and Portugal in the table and the European champions face struggling New Zealand in their game.

Portugal will play New Zealand in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match scheduled for Saturday, June 24, 20.

New Zealand now can not progress but another match against top-class opposition will help the Oceania champions close the global gap.

Mexico and Giovani dos Santos face a crucial match against Russian Federation on Saturday that will determine if El Tri advance to the Confederations Cup semifinals. "If we play like we did the other night, I have all the confidence in the world", said Wood.

"Whether we are doing well or not people will always criticise us so we [the players] don't care what they say".

"We took a great side all the way against Mexico and we can do that against Portugal. I'd rather watch a goalless game than one with a goal scored from a free kick or a corner", Smertin said.

Hiddink sees a similarity in his two former teams at the Confederations Cup: Russia and Australia both seem to play better when trailing 1-0.

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.

However, it was not all good news as Bernardo Silva went off injured at halftime while a needless and reckless challenge from Pepe ruled the controversial central defender out of Wednesday's semi-final.

"It is a Big Brother approach but still it's the only way to get guys playing the game in the right way". New Zealand put in an admirable effort against Mexico, and even took the lead in the first half, but ultimately couldn't hold on as the Mexicans superior talent showed through.

After the draw with Portugal, Mexico's coach Juan Carlos Osorio made eight changes against New Zealand, which back-fired and his side only reacted when they fell behind. Heading into the final round of group stage matches, Mexico sit top of their group, and need only a draw to guarantee their safe passage into the next round. "That's very important. In all games we go on to the pitch to win, we have that confidence in ourselves". "As a World Cup Ambassador, I'm happy to have the honor of representing my country in the world", Viktoria said.

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