Mexico face biggest summer test in Confed Cup opener vs. Portugal

Mexico face biggest summer test in Confed Cup opener vs. Portugal

Surrounded by officials FIFA President Gianni Infantino seen during his visit to Media centre prior the Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is soccer’s ultimate warm-up act.

European champions Portugal, captained by the relentless Cristiano Ronaldo, will look to build on their success in France last summer and prove that they are also contenders for the Tournament of Champions and next year’s World Cup in Russian Federation.

Portugal had an early effort controversially disallowed by the video referees but they eventually took the lead after 34 minutes through Ricardo Quaresma after a mistake by Carlos Salcedo let Cristiano Ronaldo through on goal.

Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer Javier Hernandez pulled one back for his side with a classic flying-header in the 42nd minute with both teams going into the break 1-1.

Ronaldo scored twice and set up Silva’s goal in the team’s 3-0 win at Latvia in European World Cup qualifying last week, the team’s last match before Sunday’s Group A opener against Mexico at Kazan Arena.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s mere presence hangs over every Portugal game, and fans have been camped outside the team hotel since the team arrived on Wednesday, in contrast to the quieter surrounds of the Mexico camp.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos on the result: “We played a team that has very good, technical players”.

The players wore black arm bands during the game against Mexico. A report by a Portuguese newspaper two days before Sunday’s game said that the Madrid forward had made the “irreversible” decision to leave the Spanish club because he was upset with the allegations.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio: “We played the European champions on equal terms, we generated chances but couldn’t finish them”.

Two weeks ago, he had also scored twice in the Champions League final to lead Madrid to its second consecutive title in the European club competition. The team said that he couldn’t go because he was receiving post-game treatment, although it said it wasn’t anything serious.

An entertaining encounter also saw an adjudication from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), who chalked off a Pepe goal for offside. But Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez equalised just eight minutes later with a header from the edge of the six-yard box. Quaresma did well to allow Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to over-commit to a save before scoring into an empty net.

There were concerns that the match could be suspended after warnings from Federation Internationale de Football Association against homophobic chants by Mexican fans, but they were only heard a couple of times during the match and did not cause any disruption.