The Confederations Cup is almost reaching its conclusion stage after teams from Group A played out their games. Portugal and Mexico have reached the semi-finals of the showpiece event with hosts Russia and New Zealand bowing out.

Russia were expecting to seize the opportunity of impressing at home, but they failed to show up following the 2-0 win over New Zealand in the opener. The 2018 World Cup hosts suffered a damping 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the second game where they had no shot on target, and this virtually left them needing a win against Mexico to progress. Ultimately, El Tri were more dominant on the night as they managed to clinched a 2-1 victory which assured their progress as runner-up.

On the other hand, it was smooth sailing for the European champions Portugal, who after a disappointing 2-2 draw against Mexico, earned a comfortable 1-0 win over Russia. New Zealand were unlikely to pose much of a threat to a solid Portugal defence and they were convincing thumped by a 4-scoreline despite the likes of Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo being subbed early in the game.

The All White had not managed a victory in nine attempts prior to this summer’s Confederations Cup, and their wait has been extended for another four seasons, provided they lift the Oceanian title. Meanwhile, Russia are unlikely to get another run in the coveted tournament as the team are in a transition phase where they could struggle against higher opposition come the World Cup.

Mexico remain the dark horses of the Confederations Cup, but they will not entertain the prospect of facing Chile in the semi-final stage following their 7-0 thumping at the Copa America Centenario just a year earlier. The club have since integrated players like Carlos Vela to their ranks, but there is still a frailty in the defence which does not stand up for a nation ranked constantly in the top 20.

Image – Getty

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