In the early hours of Sunday morning (AEST), Portugal secured their spot in the semi-finals after beating our Kiwi neighbours 4-0.

What happened:

In the opening stages, New Zealand did not look like a team on zero points in the Cup as they dominated the attacking play in the opening quarter of the match. However, they were unable to open the scoring and the current European Champions were gifted time to settle into their own attacking routine.

In the 32nd minute, the breakthrough came after two Kiwi defenders sandwiched Danilo in the box during a corner. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to the spot and easily slotted the resulting penalty past All Whites goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Shortly afterwards, an overlapping run from left fullback Eliseu saw a cut back to Bernardo Silva near the penalty spot. Bernardo had shaken his defender and managed to find the back of the net to increase Portugal’s lead to 2-0.

The Portuguese side managed to start the second half in control, with a comfortable lead they continued to look dangerous and show why they are on top of Group A in Russia.New Zealand almost retaliated with a goal against the Portuguese after a fantastic cross behind the defence to a sliding Chris Wood. His shot forced a scrambling save from their defence in order to maintain their clean sheet.

Andre Silva finalised the Kiwi defeat by dribbling the ball 40 metres past the defence into the box before scoring a superb goal into the top left-hand corner to make it 3-0.

After a physical match at Saint Petersburg Stadium, substitute Nani scored in extra time after taking a touch inside the 18-yard area and striking the ball to make the final score 4-0.

Talking points:

In the semi-finals, Portugal needs to ensure they are switched on from the very first whistle. If they take as long as they did against the Kiwis to settle into the game they could see themselves down a goal or two to some of the better teams.

Additionally, with one of the best attackers in the world up front, they need to not depend on him to score goals in the initial stages as he is a targeted player. Instead, the team should collectively look to the players around him to find the back of the net in the opening minutes of the semi-finals.

What it means:

Portugal has secured their place in the semi-finals after finishing first place in Group A in front of Mexico despite them beat Russia 2-1. Group B’s final matches tomorrow, will determine who the Portuguese face with New Zealand returning home after a short-lived campaign.

Needs work:

New Zealand were strong in patches, but the side needs to work on their technical ability and maintaining their game focus throughout the full 90 minutes. This will help their campaigns drastically in the future on the world stage.

Although Portugal only required a point from this match, they did begin the match rather slowly and took their time to find their rhythm. In the upcoming semi-finals, they will have to be switched on from the start if they hope to progress to the final and indeed win the Confederations Cup.

What’s next:

Portugal will progress to the semi-final on Thursday morning (AEST) and their opponents will be determined by Group B’s final matches tomorrow. The All Whites will be sent packing back to New Zealand after finishing on the bottom of Group A with zero points.

However, Portugal’s Pepe will not play the semi-final after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament.

Goal of the day:

Silva’s goal was true class after he dribbled the ball 40 metres before beating the Kiwi defence into the box. An angled shot into the top left-hand corner, from the edge of the six-yards, was touched by the Kiwi goalkeeper but couldn’t be stopped from finding the back of the net.

Miss of the day:

In the opening minutes of the second half a cross behind the Spanish defence from Thomas Doyle found Wood’s sliding feet on the back post for New Zealand. A last minute save from the sliding leg of Portuguese defender Bruno Alves doing just enough to maintain his nation’s clean sheet.

SHARE
A player turned Journalist that's still holding onto the dream by writing about the Newcastle Jets this season!