Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Infantino: Not time to think about future of Confed Cup

It will be European champion Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo in top form, taking on Gold Cup victor Mexico in a game that is likely to decide the group victor.

Portugal's triumph at Euro 2016 secured them a place in Russian Federation, where they will be making their Confederations Cup debut against CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico in Group A before facing the hosts and New Zealand. Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Eder were in the squad when Portugal won the European championship past year, with Eder scoring the extra-time victor in the final against host France, but none made it to Fernando Santos' squad for the Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up event.

Mexico, the 1999 winners, struggled to match Fernando Santos' side as Portugal hit their stride halfway through the first half and Ronaldo provided Quaresma with a simple finish after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had ruled out a goal for Nani.

Moments later, Javier Hernandez tied the game with his fourth Confederations Cup goal. Portugal rightfully opened the scoring just a few minutes later, so in this case at least, we can say the ball didn't lie.

May now be 32 but still remains the key man, as highlighted by the fact he has scored or provided an assist in his last seven matches for Portugal.

The lead lasted less than 10 minutes, when Portugal volunteered its own poor defending.

The Portuguese sports daily A Bola published a front-page story Friday saying that Ronaldo was upset with the accusations made against him and that his decision to leave Madrid was "irreversible".

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"It's not the result we wanted, we had the game nearly won", said Ronaldo, who was voted the man of the match. The team said that he couldn't go because he was receiving post-game treatment, although it said it wasn't anything serious. "He is 100 percent focused on this competition and he will be helping us".

Portugal, which made it to the tournament after beating host France in the Euro 2016 final, is in Group A along with Russia, New Zealand and Mexico.

In his next game, Silva scored a hat-trick against the Faroe Islands, when Ronaldo added one goal in another 6-0 victory.

Then 38, Carvalho became the oldest player in the history of the UEFA event in France previous year, and helped his team claim their first piece of major global silverware thanks to a dramatic extra-time triumph over the hosts in the showpiece in Paris. The under-fire Real Madrid star's clever first touch had him off and running, and although he stumbled in the box and allowed defenders to recover, he found teammate Ricardo Quaresma on the opposite side of the box.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Raphael Guerreiro failed to deal with a cross into the box and Carlos Vela teed up Hernandez, who met the cross with a diving header. Now we need to think of the next game, which we have to win.

A frantic end to the first half gave way to a boring second as both sides were found wanting with their final ball, with Ronaldo - isolated after Nani's withdrawal - unable to influence the game.

In addition to being an idol, Ronaldo also serves as a mentor for the talented young forward.

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