Portugal take on Mexico at the Kazan Arena on Sunday in what looks a cracking Group A encounter. The European champions are favourites to win the tie but Mexico will look to cause an upset.
Portugal is ranked eighth in the FIFA world rankings and is second favourites to win the Confederations Cup at 5/2. Since beating France in the Euro 2016 final to win their first major tournament, the Seleccao have won seven of their nine matches, scoring 33 goals. They lost 2-0 away to Switzerland in a World Cup Qualifier in September, before losing 3-2 in a friendly against Sweden on home soil three months ago. However, the European champions brushed aside Cyprus 4-0 (friendly) and Latvia 3-0 (WCQ) in their last two matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the man to watch in Fernando Santos’ team for his ability to win matches single-handedly, but the talents of Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva are sure to catch the eye. Silva was influential in Monaco’s title-winning season which is why Pep Guardiola was so desperate to sign him for Manchester City. Andre, who is on the verge of joining AC Milan, was prolific for Porto this season, scoring 16 times in 32 outings in the league, plus another four in eight in the Champions League.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting), Beto (Sporting), Jose Sa (Porto)
Defenders: Nelson Semedo (Benfica), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Cagliari), Luis Neto (Zenit), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Eliseu (Benfica)
Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting), Danilo (Porto), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Pizzi (Benfica), Andre Gomes (Barcelona), Adrien Silva (Sporting), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Andre Silva (Porto), Nani (Valencia)
Mexico qualified for the Confederations Cup by winning the CONCACAF Cup in 2015. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side have lost just once in their last 13 matches, winning nine times. They are unbeaten in three matches, winning twice. Following back-to-back wins against Republic of Ireland and Honduras, El Tri earned a 1-1 draw against United States coming into this game.
Veteran defender Rafa Marquez has been selected in the squad but he could struggle to keep up with Ronaldo and co. Mexico will need Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela to cause problems for Portugal, while creating goalscoring opportunities for Javier Hernandez and Hirving Lozano, a Manchester City target.
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Granada), Alfredo Talavera (Deportivo Toluca), Rodolfo Cota (Chivas Guadalajara)
Defenders: Diego Reyes (Espanyol), Nestor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Carlos Salcedo (Fiorentina), Rafael Marquez (Atlas), Hector Moreno (PSV Eindhoven), Luis Reyes (Atlas)
Midfielders: Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven), Jonathan dos Santos (Villarreal), Hector Herrera (Porto), Oswaldo Alanis (Chivas Guadalajara), Miguel Layun (Porto), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Javier Aquino (Tigres)
Forwards: Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Oribe Peralta (Club America)
Prediction: Portugal (21/20)
Portugal have won their two meetings against Mexico, winning 1-0 in a friendly in 2014 and 2-1 in the 2006 World Cup. Back the European champions to win this clash.
By Chad Nagel