Ronaldo confident after leading Portugal to Confederations Cup semi-finals

Host Russia Exits Confederations Cup After Loss to Mexico

Ronaldo confident after leading Portugal to Confederations Cup semi-finals

New Zealand were beaten 2-0 by Russian Federation in the opening Confederations Cup match.

Portugal have had a very successful period of late under the management of Fernando Manuel Fernandes da Costa Santos.

New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic makes a save during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

File: Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates with Portugal's defender Bruno Alves after winning their 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match against Russian Federation at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 21, 2017.

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. Victory over New Zealand tomorrow will secure a semi-final spot.

The plucky All Whites gave the Mexicans a scare in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat in Sochi with Leeds striker Chris Wood giving the Kiwis a shock first-half lead.

Things remain tight in Group A before Saturday's final round.

Portugal have four points after they conceded an equaliser in stoppage time to draw their opening match 2-2 against Mexico. Notably, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Javier Hernandez all have scored once for their nations.

New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson defended his players and said the fact they were able to fully test the more fancied Mexicans was a more likely reason for their frustration.

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

Even against Mexico, when they raised their performance level, created chances and took the lead, they lost the game.

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.

Tensions erupted in the first half when Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio swore at the New Zealand coaching staff over an injury to Carlos Salcedo that medics later determined would rule the defender out of the rest of the tournament.

"Everyone is incredibly disappointed in the changing room and we feel we should have got more", said Hudson.

"The team played their hearts out and I don't think anyone here tonight or in front of their television sets have any doubts about that".

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th global goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

Goals from Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Wales were dispatched 2-0 in Lyon before a goalless final against hosts France went into an additional period, where substitute Eder was the unlikely hero.

"We knew it would be a very hard game against a very strong opponent", Osorio told a news conference.

"It's less than 72 hours to recover, it's not easy", said the coach, who steered his team to the Euro 2016 title over seven games in a 27-day period in France.

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