Portugal hoping Ronaldo can continue his good form in Russian Federation


On Sunday, when Mexico kicks off its Confederations Cup campaign against European champion Portugal, we'll get a rare insight into El Tri's status quo one year out from Russian Federation 2018. The Confederations Cup is a real test one year before the World Cup, and we will have a much better sense of where Mexico fits in the world soccer puzzle after these two weeks.

Mexico's Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017. After taking an early lead and seeing it evaporate just before half time, Portugal battled throughout the match and looked to have secured all three points on a goal from Cedric in the 86th minute, but El Tri dug deep and finished off a late corner to split the points. "We nearly had the game won but we suffered in the final minutes". There are two games to go and that's why we're cool, we're at ease.

"Cristiano is a great player and we know that he makes a difference", Mexico forward Hirving Lozano said.

Ronaldo was making the headlines on Friday because of a report that said he wants to leave Real Madrid and Spain following allegations that he defrauded the country's tax authorities.

After a 21st minute free kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo struck the wall, the ball was sent back into the area where four Portugal players were in offside positions and one of them challenged for the ball, meaning he was offside. Portugal had a first-half goal by Nani disallowed after a video review, when the game was still scoreless.

Portugal, which made it to the tournament after beating host France in the Euro 2016 final, is in Group A along with Russia, New Zealand and Mexico.

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Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in five games with Portugal this season.

Ronaldo was named the man of the match after setting up Quaresma's opener and playing a key part in Portugal's second, meaning he was in line to appear at a post-match media conference.

Ronaldo's backheel then saw Quaresma fire narrowly wide but another defensive error allowed Mexico to draw level three minutes before the break.

A deep cross was able to find former Arsenal forward Carlos Vela after lax defending from Raphael Guerreiro. Lastly, having Mexican captain back Rafa Marquez will be important in terms of on-field leadership, coming off an injury in which he's only played 23 minutes since March, it's hard to see how much Mexico will get out of Marquez early in the tournament.

Fernando Santos threw on the highly-rated Andre Silva a minute later, and he almost restored Portugal's lead in the 84th minute but Ochoa produced a super save to keep out the striker's header.