Portugal 4-0 New Zealand

Despite making five changes from the team that beat Russia on Wednesday, Portugal were far too strong for New Zealand in the final Group A game of the Confederations Cup this afternoon.

Goals by Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty), Bernardo Silva, André Silva and Nani gave the Seleção a thumping 4-0 victory, the only negative being a yellow card picked up by Pepe ruling him out of the semi-final.

Portugal have an extra day's rest than their next opponents - almost certainly Germany or Chile - who they will play on Wednesday evening for a place in the final.

Santos rings the changes

With Portugal needing just a point to cement their place in the semi-finals, Fernando Santos called on the services of Ricardo Quaresma, Danilo Pereira and João Moutinho, sparing Sporting duo William Carvalho and Adrien Silva, as well as André Gomes, of any lingering fatigue before the likely transition into the final stages of the tournament. Eliseu overcame fears of a flu to deputise for Raphaël Guerreiro at left back, whereas a knock picked up late on by Cedric Soares in preparation for the clash paved the way for Nélson Semedo’s first appearance in Russia.

For ‘the Kiwis’, Wednesday night’s ill-tempered defeat to Mexico set them up for elimination, but a much-improved display against ‘El Tri’ increased hopes of a first win in an official FIFA competition for Anthony Hudson’s adopted nation, as the ever-impressive Dane Ingham assumed his position at right-wing-back.

Against the expectations of many, New Zealand kicked on from their impressive first half display against Mexico to make life uncomfortable for Portugal in the opening ten minutes, locking Santos’ men into their own half. Leeds United’s target man Chris Wood offered Ronaldo and co. their clearest warning as early as the 6th minute, hanging off Semedo at the back-post before firing a half-volley into Rui Patrício’s grasp.

Portugal would struggle to crack down their opponents on the deck, with Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva both finding openings behind the back-line with little success, but it’d be in the air that the ‘Seleção das Quinas’ would soon find their calling.

Ronaldo’s aerial threat

Ronaldo was first up in the 23rd minute, taking up his imperious stance from Ricardo Quaresma’s cross before heading the ball low but within Stefan Marinovic’s reach. The Portuguese skipper rose highest once more to the head at goal in a decent spell of dominance for his team, again courtesy of Quaresma’s delivery, but this time it’d be the crossbar to play a role in denying the Real Madrid man of the game’s first goal.

Echoes of Russia’s 1-0 lead over Mexico soon buzzed around the stadium at the midway point of the first half to plunge Portugal into second place, serving as an immediate reminder of the dangers at play.

Aerial play continued to promise to be New Zealand’s undoing, however, as Danilo Pereira came close with a header to earn his side a consecutive corner. From the resulting set-piece, the FC Porto anchor came into the frame once more to win his side a penalty, with the official neglecting the help of the video assisted referee as he pointed assertively to the spot.

Ronaldo stepped up to the 12-yard-mark and made no mistake in the 31st minute, propelling Portugal back to the top of the group following Russia’s momentary lead over Mexico in the opposing fixture.

Slick move downs New Zealand

Quaresma embraced the role of chief creator from the left, lifting the ball nonchalantly for Eliseu to hit the by-line with before cutting back a cross that would be tapped in promptly from close range by Bernardo Silva in the 37th minute.

André Silva was then lucky not to have blemished a strong end to the first half, as the new AC Milan striker took a wild swing at Michael Boxall following a dispute for possession of the ball, with the added benefit of replays again being ignored. Bernardo Silva wouldn’t emerge for the second period after the ankle scare that followed his first-half goal, making way for Benfica man Pizzi instead.

Despite the lead, there was bad news to come for Portugal as a booking for Pepe in 55th minute meant that he’d him miss out on next week’s semi-finals through the accumulation of yellow cards throughout the tournament. Things could’ve worsened for Portugal in the 57th minute when Wood neared his second Confederations Cup goal with a belated slide for the ball from the back-post, but a concerted effort from Patrício and Bruno Alves kept the sheet clean.

At the other end, Ronaldo provided a relentless threat from wide crosses, renewing his dispute with Marinovic who’d go on to gather up the captain’s headed effort yet again after an hour of play. With Portugal’s goal difference at the top of Group A hanging by a thread, André Silva saw his shot from inside the box denied by an inspired Marinovic, meanwhile Mexico threatened to topple Santos’ outfit elsewhere with a 2-1 lead over Russia.

Kosta Barbarouses came off the New Zealand bench to test Patrício with a snap-shot, whereas Nani, on for Ronaldo in the 65th minute, became the latest test the New Zealand goalkeeper without success.

Emphatic finish

André Silva would calm all doubts over top spot in the 79th minute, however, forcing his way into the box before slamming home an emphatic strike across goal on his favoured right foot. A fourth and final Portuguese goal would also be on the cards, as a quick step-over from Nani earned him enough space to fire at goal from the left and amplify the score to 4-0 into stoppage time.

The comprehensive victory means Portugal will now wait for the runners-up in Group B, expected to be between Chile and tournament nemesis Germany, before taking to the field on Wednesday 28th June for the first semi-final of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

By Patrick Ribeiro (Twitter: @P_SRibeiro)

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Nélson Semedo, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Eliseu – Bernardo Silva (Pizzi 45’), Danilo Pereira, João Moutinho, Ricardo Quaresma (Gelson Martins 84’) – André Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo (Nani 65’)

Goals:

[1-0] – Ronaldo, 31’

[2-0] – Bernardo Silva, 37’

[3-0] - André Silva, 79’

[4-0] – Nani, 90’

 

Comments (18)

  1. Ash

Good win but Santos is a complete moron. Why would you keep Pepe on at halftime when we're winning 2-0 against freaking NEW ZEALAND! He shouldn't even have started in the first place. Pepe is also an idiot for going in for that challenge. There...

Good win but Santos is a complete moron. Why would you keep Pepe on at halftime when we're winning 2-0 against freaking NEW ZEALAND! He shouldn't even have started in the first place. Pepe is also an idiot for going in for that challenge. There was no need. Such a stupid yellow

I'm one of Bruno Alves's biggest critics but he's made me eat my words. Let's hope he has the game of his life in the semis. We're going to need it.

The Cédric vs Semedo argument should be closed now. Cédric is the undisputed number 1. Heard he has a knock as well. Let's hope he's fit.

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  1. Felipe Dinis

Getting closer to knowing our starting line up now. Andre Silva and Bernando Silva are starters, Andres goal was class, and Bernando especially has added class in midfield that we have been missing since the Deco and Rui Costa days! Ricardo...

Getting closer to knowing our starting line up now. Andre Silva and Bernando Silva are starters, Andres goal was class, and Bernando especially has added class in midfield that we have been missing since the Deco and Rui Costa days! Ricardo Quaresma has been great for us this tournament. Pepe will be a big blow for us, hopefully Bernando Silva will be fine for the semi because he will be another big blow, along with Guerreiro not coming back at left back because of his fracture. Still not keen with Eliseu, defiantly does not have the quality that Guerreiro has lol. But he has to start at defence, and with Pepe missing our defence may not be up to par. Good thing Cedric will be fresh for the semi though because hes class.

I'm assuming Fernando Santos will play line up, if Bernando makes it, it will be:

Patricio
Cedric, Jose Fonte, Bruno Alves, Eliseu
Bernando Silva, William Carvalho, Adien Silva, Andre Gomes
Andre Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo

Midfield is up for grabs for us in the semi's (apart from Bernandos position if hes fit) loads of different options. Want Quaresma to start over Andre Gomes, but maybe Quaresma might leave us even more exposed on the left side if he starts with Eliseu at left back.
Forca Portugal, what ever happens on Wednesday at least we have a better idea what type of team we want to bring in the world cup!

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  1. Andre/UK

Good comfortable win against a New Zealand side who weren't as bad as many people had thought. They were very very rough though, it has to be said and at times it looked like some of their players forget they weren't playing rugby lol! We should...

Good comfortable win against a New Zealand side who weren't as bad as many people had thought. They were very very rough though, it has to be said and at times it looked like some of their players forget they weren't playing rugby lol! We should have had a second penalty for a clear foul on Nani in the box in the second half. New Zealand were definitely not a walkover and their players gave everything they had, but overall the Selecao did well and kept patient, despite not enjoying the best of starts to the match. Santos showed again that he means to use everyone selected in the squad, and that there are very few guaranteed starters in the squad. This is good because it keeps things competitive and makes sure no players can rest on their laurels in terms of being guaranteed a spot. But having said that, both Andre and Bernardo Silva surely have to start every remaining game in this tournament, both give an extra dimension to the attack. A dimension that was really missing when they were both missing against Mexico. With Quaresma also doing well again today, Santos has a selection headache for the next match, for sure. Who to leave out?

I thought Eliseu did very well and made a lovely assist for the all important second goal. Yes, the same Eliseu who's "total crap" according to most who comment on this site. He's clearly so crap that four good managers in succession -Pellegrini at Malaga, Jorge Jesus and Rui Vitoria at SLB and Fernando Santos for the Selecao, have put their faith in him for the last 5 seasons. He's a tricampeao for the best club in Portugal and a European champion for the Selecao, but naaa he's just a crap player isn't he? Loooool!!! Danilo did ok at DM but I still prefer William for that position. Danilo is more athletic and more mobile, but William is better in what in my opinion is the most important element of DM: positioning. William has great positioning and a calmness and maturity in his play that I think balances the team better. The only blip today was Pepe's yellow card and suspension for the semi final. Fonte will have to give a much stronger performance than he gave against Mexico. But let's not forget that Fonte had a great tournament at the Euros last summer and hopefully he gets that form back for the semi. Whoever we play, Chile or Germany (even with their experimental squad) will be tough and we will have to play very well to beat them. Neverthless, with this amount of talent at our disposal, and with Santos showing he's willing to be flexible in using the best options for every particular match and opponent, I really fancy our chances of getting to the final.

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  1. Rosario

Cedric, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Nani, Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo (2)

Good result, bad game. I felt incredibly frustrated about Portugal's lack of effort/intent in the opening phases of both halves. Like Tom tweeted, once they DID start to...

Cedric, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Nani, Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo (2)

Good result, bad game. I felt incredibly frustrated about Portugal's lack of effort/intent in the opening phases of both halves. Like Tom tweeted, once they DID start to put effort into the game, it resulted into two quick-fire goals, and it could have been even more.

Quaresma was doing some wizardly things at times and was deffo one of the best performers imo. The Silva's proved their worth as well in the spells that Portugal bothered to take the game to the rugby players of NZ. Patricio and the defenders had some nervy moments but managed to keep a clean sheet in the end so props for that too. In the end the scoreline looks prettier than the game itself was. Loved Silva and Nani's goals towards the end to illustrate that Portugal were simply a better side, despite not playing as such for the majority of the game.

I feel we made it unnecessarily hard for ourselves in the first half. It could have been 4-0 in that first half alone. Overall I must say I have not been impressed with Portugal this tournament so far. I don't know whether the players have been holding back for the sake of giving their all in the knock-out stages but doesn't it frustrate you that even after finally winning a major trophy last summer, we still have nervy games against opponents we should be trashing with margins of 5 or 6 goals? Even Mexico should have been beatable with a 3-0 or 4-1 scoreline imo. Don't get me wrong, I love this squad and I respect Santos a lot but I miss a next level of confidence and dominance at once... It's like the levelheadedness at Euro 2016 is the best we'll get, rather than eventually evolving one step further into a ruthless quality team that demolishes all before them, like most Germany squads or heck, even some of the younger Portugal sides! Call me greedy or needy but... I want more!

Looking ahead, it sucks that Pepe got suspended and I hope Bernardo can recover in time but missing two keyplayers next to Guerreiro when we are most likely to face either Germany or Chile is not a foresight that leaves me with confidence. :/ Chile are arguably the strongest team in this tournament and I don't see us overtaking them if we aren't playing at full strength. Heck, even a young, less experienced Germany will be troublesome to beat... Anyways, I guess that regardless how good they become, the Selecao LOVE to give us fans grey hairs, huh? If it results in another trophy though, I'll stop complaining about it, hehe...

PS. Can someone notify all major football news outlets that of Portugal's seven Confederation Cup goals so far, no less than SIX have been scored by different players? What's that? Ronaldo-dependency? "Not a team"? What? Come again? Ignorant fools.

Forca Portugal!

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  1. Joao

With Guerreiro and Pepe out, I have almost no confidence in a semi final win unless Fonte returns to his Southampton best and not his West Ham form. Gomes will most likely play that LM spot and will need to help out a lot defensively. William...

With Guerreiro and Pepe out, I have almost no confidence in a semi final win unless Fonte returns to his Southampton best and not his West Ham form. Gomes will most likely play that LM spot and will need to help out a lot defensively. William needs to be flawless
Let's hope Bernardo is ok

Rui Patrício
Cedric, Fonte, Alves, Eliséu
Bernardo, William, Adrién, Gomes
Silva, Ronaldo

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  1. jon/usa

Apart from a disjointed opening 15-20 minutes, Portugal were in complete control. Quaresma was the man of the match in my opinion, but I still think he'd be more effective as an impact sub, especially against a Chile or Germany where we would...

Apart from a disjointed opening 15-20 minutes, Portugal were in complete control. Quaresma was the man of the match in my opinion, but I still think he'd be more effective as an impact sub, especially against a Chile or Germany where we would need a more industrious, defensively sound alternative on the wings. Bernardo was pure class yet again -- let's hope his injury isn't too serious. Andre Silva scored a well-taken and well-deserved goal, and Eliseu was surprisingly excellent on both sides of the ball.

I had no problem with Pepe getting the start. I know he has a history of stupid decisions, but they have been few and far between over the last few years. There is absolutely no excuse for his completely unnecessary yellow. Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves are going to have to be at their very best if we are to progress to the finals. Raphael's injury doesn't seem to be as serious as we initially feared, but I would not be in favor of rushing him back to the starting 11, especially if he's not feeling 100%.

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  1. Jude

I can't believe she me of the negativity on this site. We haven't played out of our mind but we've played well in the tournament. We've always looked like we could take things up a gear when needed which is fine by me. After a long season do...

I can't believe she me of the negativity on this site. We haven't played out of our mind but we've played well in the tournament. We've always looked like we could take things up a gear when needed which is fine by me. After a long season do enough to win the group and save some energy and magic for the knockout rounds.

People calling Santos a moron are obviously dumbasses. Sure he's made a couple of mis-steps but he adapts really well and quickly.

Missing Pepe is obviously not good but we have enough tAlent to overcome his loss. I wouldn't be surprised to see Danilo start beside William with Bernardo and adrien rounding out the midfield to provide extra cover for the defence.

I'm feeling confident of making it to the finals. We are in my totally biased opinion the most talented team in the tournament.

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  1. Andy

What do you all think about having Cedric and Semedo as the fullbacks even though both play the right. Yes Eliseu had a good game...but it was against NEW ZEALAND!! He's gonna get eaten alive by Germany or Chile. I'm sure everyone is gonna...

What do you all think about having Cedric and Semedo as the fullbacks even though both play the right. Yes Eliseu had a good game...but it was against NEW ZEALAND!! He's gonna get eaten alive by Germany or Chile. I'm sure everyone is gonna disagree with me saying how great he is but i'd take Cedric or Semedo at leftback over him anyday.

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  1. Paulo    Andy

I had contemplated that myself(Cedric and Semedo). Some players adapt well the opposite side, others do not. Haven't seen them on the left side to know. At this stage, other than an emergency, I think Eliseu does enough to start. He did look good...

I had contemplated that myself(Cedric and Semedo). Some players adapt well the opposite side, others do not. Haven't seen them on the left side to know. At this stage, other than an emergency, I think Eliseu does enough to start. He did look good today.

By the way Nani has developed a strong left foot, that was a great strike.

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  1. Andy    Paulo

He did play well today for the most part but I just don't think he can play against the big boys. And I agree, I haven't seen either one play on the left side, it was just a thought...my logic being Cedric is rock solid and Semedo is one of the...

He did play well today for the most part but I just don't think he can play against the big boys. And I agree, I haven't seen either one play on the left side, it was just a thought...my logic being Cedric is rock solid and Semedo is one of the hottest prospects in Europe and it just makes more sense to me to play the best backs regardless of position.Grant it, who knows...maybe Semedo would suck at leftback.

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  1. SupremoGino

@Ash

The Santos bashing is entirely absurd. When was the last time Portugal won as convincingly as they did today and the coach still gets called a moron? That's hilarious. Where you even here when we suffered through the Queiroz and Bento eras?...

@Ash

The Santos bashing is entirely absurd. When was the last time Portugal won as convincingly as they did today and the coach still gets called a moron? That's hilarious. Where you even here when we suffered through the Queiroz and Bento eras? You must have not.. to be making comments like that about our coach. If you were, you should know better. Heck, Scolari was a big favorite of mine and I don't even know if he would be capable of propelling the quickest turnaround the Seleccao has experienced between the end of the disastrous 2014 campaign to where we are now. Santos is a genius in that regard. Also, please tell me who should've played over Pepe? Fonte, Neto? Yellow cards don't mean a thing if your team is on the path towards elimination... just ask New Zealand. Now i'm not necessarily saying Portugal's campaign at this year's Confederation's Cup was on the fringes and while 2-0 seems safe at half time, a good coach never takes anything for granted. Bruno Alves by the way, did NOT have a good game. Rui Patricio was the guy bailing us out repeatedly, and Alves kept getting in his way even injuring him at one point. More reason to keep Pepe in there!

@Andre/UK

I agree about Eliseu, i never rated him at left back. Let's remember he's a natural winger but after a rough start he contributed nicely combining with Quaresma to assist on Bernardo's goal. It's New Zealand so if he has to start against Chile or Germany I'd be very concerned but he's all we got if Guerreiro's injured. Coentrao retired from the Seleccao a long time ago.

I thought Danilo played great today. That's the kind of "DM" we need on a team with the attacking potential Portugal has. He bossed the midfield, covered well for our center backs on corners and got forward winning us the penalty. He nearly connected with the header too. Oh did I mention he runs? It gives us another dimension. William, in the prime years of his life cannot run let alone to SAVE his life. He is a pylon and a boulder. but guess what. He can still play at center back sometime. We desperately need the depth so let's give him a chance. Who knows maybe he can replace Pepe in the semi-final?

@Rosario I want more also. Portugal won the Euros with their teamwork and sturdy style of play. The next step is to bring back the "Jogo Bonito" that had us voted the most entertaining team at world cup 2006. I don't know if Santos is the man to accomplish that but either way our current crop is still in a transitioning phase so we need to be patient. However, I thought we saw glimpses of that with the goals we scored today save the penalty. They were all well taken goals with decent build up. I don't expect us to be tearing the currently 9th ranked FIFA team in the world (Mexico) to shreds though. The quality in the confeds is more or less the same we can expect at any Euro/World Cup. All teams entered full strength apart from Germany. And every tournament there are upsets.. look at what happened to Spain and England last summer. Even the juggernauts need a bit of luck to reach the latter stages. (no i'm not saying England is a juggernaut.. lol) but yeah there's no kidding Portugal can play beautifully with this current generation, mix in some of the u21s (Bruma, and Iuri both were excellent) the sky's the limit.

As of right now Ricardo Quaresma.. say what you want about him. 33 years old and I know he's not the same man whirling, blowing past defenders.. leaving them for dead like in his old F.C Porto days but the man truly works his ass off. He has a undying love for the game and he left his heart out on the field once again. He has exceptionally accurate crossing ability. Ronaldo could've banged in another couple goals with that kind of service. Quaresma also dinked the ball for Eliseu leading to the goal and if anyone still doubts. Go back and watch Andre Silva's goal. RQ on the way to running down three quarters of the pitch, knocked the ball off a New Zealand player, sending it Silva's way and bolted his way into the penalty area driving out the defence off Andre allowing him to take one man and slot the ball in the far side corner. Quaresma needs to start period. Bernardo looked himself, CR7 improved from last game. As our squad continues to gel, we'll get better.

My line up:

Patricio
Cedric---Fonte---William---Guerreiro
---------------Danilo------------------
-----Adrien Silva---Bernardo------
Quaresma-----------------------------
-------Andre Silva----Ronaldo-------

Subs: Nani, Moutinho, Gelson, Gomes

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  1. Andy    SupremoGino

Guerreiro's out...

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  1. Josh

With pepe out. I really hope to play Germany in the semis as Chile front 3 are deadly. There is still a chance that Guerrero can come back as its just bruising around his ankle and hope Bernardo is ok. Quaresma and Andre Silva need to start and...

With pepe out. I really hope to play Germany in the semis as Chile front 3 are deadly. There is still a chance that Guerrero can come back as its just bruising around his ankle and hope Bernardo is ok. Quaresma and Andre Silva need to start and it looks like fonte has a chance to redeem himself.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Is this squad stronger than the Euro 2016 squad? That's impossible to say. What I can say is that I'm as confident in this squad as I was for the Euro."

Fernando Santos
(Portugal coach after announcing the Seleção squad for World Cup 2018)

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