Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal shouldn't panic after Mexico draw

Ronaldo had earlier teed up Ricardo Quaresma for the opener, with Javier Hernandez's equaliser leading to a tight second half before a hectic finish.

Portugal's William Carvalho, left, and Mexico's Raul Jimenez fight for the ball during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Portuguese defender Pepe scored a goal in the 22nd minute of the game but it was ruled out due to the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

This was a match either could have won, but Mexico will be more pleased with the result than Portugal will be.

Cristiano Ronaldo makes it 2-0 for Portugal after scoring another tap-in for his second goal of the game. "It's deserved and what Mexico have done deserves praise, to go toe-to-toe with the champions of Europe", he said. "But we are not anxious, there are two games left, we still have chances".

Real Madrid also gave their backing to Ronaldo, releasing a statement saying the club had "full confidence in our player Cristiano Ronaldo, who we understand has acted in accordance with the legality regarding compliance with his tax obligations". "I have a pact with the players and we treat these personal matters away from the national team". There is a feel-good factor around English youth football right now following their recent Under-20 World Cup triumph, but the bookmakers may be doing Sweden a disservice by making England odds-on favourites here.

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With European champions Portugal and host country Russian Federation, advancing will be a tough task for El Tri. "Mexico was better, more aggressive".

A regular of Portugal's youth teams, Silva began attracting headlines when he joined Porto's senior squad and played well from the start, finishing the season with 21 goals.

The FIFA Player of the Year, who had scored 11 goals in seven games coming into Sunday's encounter, was perhaps not as influential as usual but was still named man-of-the-match.

Coach Fernando Santos and some of Ronaldo's teammates are confident the star forward won't be affected by the buzz created by a report that said he wants to leave the Spanish club because of allegations that he defrauded the country's tax authorities.

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.

The Swedes are reigning champions and also topped a qualifying section that included Spain, so Friday's match in Kielce could be close and odds of 7/2 about a Sweden win with bet365 look too big to ignore.

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