Portugal saw off New Zealand 4-0 to win Group A and progress to the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 semi-finals, in front of 56,290 fans in Saint Petersburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo, with rumours abound of him being rested ahead of the game, started and was Portugal’s protagonist once more. He hit the crossbar with a header before converting a first-half penalty after Danilo had been felled by Tommy Smith.
Despite a bright start, Anthony Hudson’s side then conceded again within five minutes, with new Manchester City man Bernardo Silva converting Eliseu’s cross after the left-back’s purposeful run.
Fernando Santos’s side stood up well to some concerted pressure from the All Whites after the break, with Andre Silva and Nani’s first goals of Russia 2017, the latter coming in stoppage time, serving to rubberstamp all three points. Topping the group means Portugal will face the runners-up of Group B in Kazan on Wednesday 28 June.
FIFA.com team reporter analysis
“New Zealand were again improved, looking comfortable with the ball and aggressive in defence. Hudson and his side did not deceive when they promised to be bold, and although they did not frustrate Portugal as they did Mexico, they were not unduly out of their depth. Goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic proved himself a player to watch in the future, especially in a strong second half.”
Brendon Hanley, New Zealand team reporter
“Portugal never fully found their rhythm but that didn’t stop them from scoring four goals without reply. Captain Ronaldo set the tone with the opening goal and worked hard before finally putting Portugal ahead with his penalty. Defensively, Portugal showed the same lapses that allowed them to concede two late goals against Mexico and almost got them into trouble against Russia. Santos will need to address this against a potentially much more unforgiving team in the semi-final. Ultimately, it was a great night for the Portuguese though, as they prove yet again how dangerous and talented they are up front.”
Marco Monteiro, Portugal team reporter
Budweiser Man of the Match
Cristiano Ronaldo once more led from the front to pick up his third consecutive Budweiser Man of the Match award. Despite going off with around 20 minutes to go, the Real Madrid man’s impact on a game in which he could have had a hat-trick, but for the crossbar and the reflexes of Marinovic, was undeniable.
75 Portugal goals was the landmark that Cristiano Ronaldo reached with his successfully-converted penalty in Saint Petersburg. In doing so, he stretched his lead over second-placed Pauleta (47) and third-placed Eusebio (41) even further.