Ronaldo scores, Portugal eases past New Zealand 4-0

Jonathan Hernandez
June 27, 2017

Plus, neither Russian Federation nor Mexico have Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks.

Portugal beat New Zealand 4-0 in Group A of the 2017 Confederations Cup on Saturday, qualifying for the last four.

The most-capped player in the squad - the Mexico game was his 101st global appearance - Akinfeev's bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

Bernado Silva, Andre Silva and Nani also scored goals for Portugal to help them finish top of their pool on seven points.

Ronaldo's fine form has continued in the colours of Portugal, with a brace in a World Cup qualifier against Latvia followed by two efforts at the Confederations Cup - taking him to 56 in 55 games.

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Ronaldo was in the starting lineup despite coach Fernando Santos's suggestions he could rest his superstar, and he delivered Portugal's opening goal from the penalty spot before being substituted in the 67th minute.

Ronaldo's latest goal sent him level with Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and to within nine of the legendary Ferenc Puskas' European record of 84 at global level.

Portugal's Andre Silva celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

"The biggest positive for me today was that we never, ever accepted the result".

Portugal made five changes from their 1-0 win over Russian Federation, who had beaten New Zealand 2-0, but their starting XI still featured a plethora of big names, none bigger than four-time and defending world player of the year Ronaldo. The first goal was disallowed, the second counted in Chile's 2-0 victory.

"I think everyone is confused, including me", Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said of referee Roldan after a 3-1 loss in Sochi that eliminated his team.

A report by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren in December said more than 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and paralympic sport were involved in or benefited from an institutional conspiracy to hide positive doping tests.

The backing from the fans was probably the most pleasing outcome for the Russian national team. We have to be better and more consistent, stronger in both ways.

"This team are on the right path, they have got great character, great belief and it's a young team moving in the right direction".

Cherchesov appears a smart cookie, aware that winning the PR battle is often as important as being victorious on the pitch and he made a statement at the end of the game by assembling all of his players in the centre-circle of the pitch in Kazan.

"I'm confident that all the players who've taken part in the tournament will draw on the experience to develop and mature", he said.

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