New Zealand 0-4 Portugal 2017 Confederations Cup: match report
Goals by Ronaldo from the penalty spot, Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva and Nani were enough to see Portugal through against New Zealand as they look forward to a semi-finalLeganés-Sevilla live online: Copa del Rey semi-final first leg
New Zealand 0-4 Portugal: match report
Portugal beat New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg and results elsewhere went their way to ensure that they finished top of their group heading into the semi-final of the Confederations Cup.
New Zealand were up against it from the start and that was evidenced in the opening exchanges, Ricardo Quaresma delivering two inch-perfect crosses for Ronaldo. Portugal's captain couldn't convert either with Marinovic denying him first and the crossbar doing the same just minutes later.
He wouldn't be kept out for long though. Danilo was tripped up as Quaresma delivered another lethal cross from a corner. Ronaldo stepped up and sent Marinovic the wrong way to give Portugal the lead after 33 minutes.
That lead was doubled when Quaresma, again, set Eliseu free down the left with a lovely scooped pass that the left-back gathers and brought into the penalty area. He squared for Bernardo Silva, who turned his ankle but not before he could poke home from close range. He continued but would be replaced at half-time after struggling through the remaining seven minutes of the half.
Portugal continued to coast through the game without ever being really tested by the All Blacks. Ronaldo was taken off for Nani midway through the half in order to rest for the next game and Andre Silva made it 3-0 when he finished a slick couneter-attack by the reigning European Champions. He took it out to the right before driving past Marinovic, who was proving a difficult man to beat in New Zealand's goal.
Nani made it 4-0 with time running out as he took the ball just inside the penalty area and drove a left-footed shot beyond Marinovic but at that stage the result was beyond doubt. Portugal will await the results from the other group as Chile and Germany battle it out for top spot but Fernando Santos will be happy with finishing top regardless of who they draw.
New Zealand vs Portugal live stream online: Confederations Cup
New Zealand vs Portugal live stream online: match preview
It's a clash of one of the pre tournament favourites against the rank outsiders as Portugal face New Zealand with the Oceania champions using the tournament as valuable experience with the "All Whites" hoping for a return to Russia next summer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The big news pre-match is that Portugal boss Fernando Santos will rest star-striker Cristiano Ronaldo. preferring to have the Madeira born forward in prime condition ahead of a potential semi-final.
After a robust clash against Mexico in their second Group A game of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, the Oceania champions find themselves bottom of the group and will look to salvage a dignified exit from the tournament by offering a competitive display against Fernando Santos' men in Kazan this evening.
All Whites captain Chris Wood was under no allusion the complexity of the task facing his side in his pre-match press conference: "They're European champions for a reason. They put their own stamp on the game, and they're not going to change it for us. We have to adjust and make sure we're ready for them, so that's what we're going to do. But we'll be trying to not give them any rest and take the game to them".
The champions of Euro 2016 should have little trouble in dispatching a side currently rankled 95 in the latest FIFA global ranking list and coach Fernando Santos will have one eye on the next stage of the competition when deciding his starting XI.
Portuguese star Luis Neto spoke yesterday in the traditional pre-match press conference and spoke on the game in his home of St Petersburg: "I feel at home here. The players have been curious and asked questions about the city. We haven't had time to do an excursion but they like what they have seen and I've naturally helped where I can."
The head coach Santos also spoke to the media and when asked about his starting XI replied: "I sleep well no matter my selection, thankfully for me. I know that whichever player I choose for the eleven is 100 per cent focused... our collective effort is what defines this team."
New Zealand vs Portugal live: possible line-ups
New Zealand vs Portugal live stream online: betting
The champions from Oceania ahead at the beak but a win for the Euro 2016 champions? Not an impossibility and pays out at a handsome 28/1.
Follow the live coverage match of semi-final of Confederations Cup between: Portugal-Chile