Portugal thrash New Zealand, reach Confederations Cup semis

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his delight at firing Portugal into the Confederations Cup semi-finals after netting his 75th global goal in Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand.

Russian Federation were knocked out after losing 2-1 to Mexico in Kazan, another setback for the hosts of next year's World Cup who have recently become accustomed to early exits from global tournaments.

Portugal, the European champion, outclassed New Zealand, which extended its winless Confederations Cup run to 12 games across four editions. The defender headed the ball into the opposite corner, over goalkeeper Akinfeev.

New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson accepted Portugal were too strong for his side as they finished their Confederations Cup pointless and having scored a single goal.

A solo effort from Andre Silva, his eighth goal in 11 appearances, in the 80th minute and a stoppage-time goal from substitute Nani completed the scoring.

It appeared that the scoring in Saint Petersburg had ended but in the first minute of added-on time, Nani found the bottom corner of the net from 16 yards to wrap up a convincing success.

"We knew it could be complicated because we had seen New Zealand play Mexico and the problems they caused the Mexicans". A clever defender with a mean streak, Portugal's defense is anchored on Pepe, the Real Madrid central defender who has been at the heart of the team's back line for the past decade.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has urged Portugal to go all the way in the Confederations Cup after reaching the semi-finals of the competition.

With Russia needing two goals without reply to advance, their uphill battle became an insurmountable task when Yuri Zhirkov, was given a second yellow card for elbowing Miguel Layun.

Mexico also had a second-half goal by defender Hector Moreno, but was ruled offside after video review.

The world No.8 side were a class above the hard-working Kiwis, nailing two goals in each quarter in an emphatic display which leaves them top of Group A ahead of Mexico.

Russian Federation was the lowest-ranked team in the eight-nation competition, which includes continental champions, the most recent World Cup victor and the host nation.

"Every goalkeeper is entitled to commit mistakes and it is something you have to live with", he told reporters. "I'm very happy to be in the semifinals".

"I hope that all of the players who took part in these matches will use the experience to grow and develop", he said.

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