Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Ronaldo's Portugal held by Mexico at Confed Cup

Portugal, the defending European champions, play Mexico on Sunday in their Group A opener in the eight-nation competition that serves as a warm-up for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation. The last time Mexico and Portugal met was during a warm-up match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Bruno Alves had won the game for the Portuguese. He scored the goal, which was largely down to Ronaldo, but his cool head made the chance exceptionally easy. "It's good that we get to play it right now, in our first game".

Silva, who has just moved from FC Porto to AC Milan in a transfer worth almost 40 million euros, has scored seven goals in eight games since his debut with the national team in a friendly against Gibraltar in September.

Predictions: An exciting game with loads of goals to end in a 3-2 win for Portugal.

New Zealand are at the bottom of the group with no points.

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The 32-year-old Portugal global is coming into the Confederations Cup in form and on a high having led Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double last season, but Mexico won't have a specific man-marker for Ronaldo.

Portugal have no injuries ahead of their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico with manager Fernando Santos having a fully fit squad to select from.

Ronaldo was making the headlines on Friday because of a report that said he wants to leave Real Madrid and Spain following allegations that he defrauded the country's tax authorities.

Javier Hernandez equalised with a low header from Carlos Vela's cross.

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"Ronaldo is motivated", young Portugal forward Andre Silva said Friday.

"I stand by Ronaldo's character and integrity, both as a man and as an athlete", said Santos, who coached Ronaldo when the player was a teenager in Portugal before leaving to play for Manchester United. What's more, he always plays his heart out when suiting up for Mexico. The team arguably don't have the elite level players of the very top national teams and certainly can't boast a Ronaldo, but Sunday's display backed up Osorio's thesis that El Tri can match any team in the world on its day. "He is an idol, even for us players", admitted veteran defender Bruno Alves, the 35-year-old who has just signed for Scottish club Rangers.

Both Confederation Cup games played on Sunday in Russian Federation left teams confused by decisions - reached more slowly than expected - by referees taking advice from assistants watching multiple replays.

Overall a point each was a fair result.

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