FIFA Confederations Cup 2017
Stadion Krestovskyi, St. Petersburg, Russia
37′ Bernardo Silva
80′ André Silva
Portugal progressed into the Semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup after they thrashed Oceanic Champions New Zealand 4-0 at the Stadion Krestovskyi in St. Petersburg, in what was their final Group A game.
A first-half Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and a strike from Bernardo Silva, who had to be replaced due to an injury, gave the European Champions a commanding 2-0 half-time lead before sublime second-half goals from André Silva and substitute Nani completed the rout to secure top-spot in Group A.
New Zealand initially started the game well and went close in the fifth minute when Chris Wood did well to control a cross from Clayton Lewis before firing an effort at-goal that Rui Patrício saved well.
The European Champions went close in the 23rd minute when a Ricardo Quaresma cross was met by Ronaldo with a header, but it was straight at Stefan Marinovic, who made a straightforward save.
Two minutes later Portugal very nearly took the lead when Ronaldo met a Quaresma cross with a header that rattled the bar.
In the 31st minute Portugal went close to opening the scoring when a Bernardo Silva corner was met by Danilo Pereira with a header that deflected inches wide of the far-post by Tommy Smith.
The European Champions were awarded a penalty from the resulting-corner after Pereira was bundled over in the area by Tommy Doyle. Ronaldo stepped-up to send Marinovic the wrong way and put Portugal in front.
Four minutes later Portugal doubled their lead. Eliseu did well to get to the byline and pull the ball back to Bernardo Silva, who tapped home.
In the 58th minute New Zealand should have pulled a goal back when Doyle sent a teasing delivery across the face of goal into the path of Wood, who looked set to score but Bruno Alves made a fine block to clear the danger on the goal-line.
A minute later Portugal went close when a Nélson Semedo cross was met by Ronaldo with a glancing-header that Marinovic parried away.
Four minutes later the Portuguese had a good chance to extend their lead when João Moutinho, who was making his 100th appearance for the Senior squad, played André Silva through on-goal and he cut-inside before firing an effort at-goal that Marinovic saved well with his trailing leg.
In the 67th minute New Zealand had a good chance when a long-throw fell to substitute Kostas Barbarouses in the area, but his effort deflected kindly for Patrício.
A minute later Portugal should have made it three when Quaresma’s pull-back found substitute Nani, who looked set to score, but his deflected effort was palmed away brilliantly by Marinovic with a fine instinctive-save.
In the 80th minute the European Champions made it three. Quaresma won possession in the New Zealand half and found André Silva, who surged forward and beat two players before firing home into the top-corner.
In the 87th minute New Zealand had a great chance to reduce the deficit when a long-cross caused havoc for Patrício and Alves, who collided into each other, and fell kindly to Michael Boxall, but his effort was smothered terrifically well by the Sporting keeper.
In the 91st minute Portugal made it four. André Silva found Nani, who beat Dane Ingham before firing a powerful effort across Marinovic and into the bottom-corner.
Seconds later the All Whites went close to grabbing a consolation when Barbarouses exchanged passes with a teammate before firing an effort over the bar.
The result meant that Portugal finished at the top of Group A on seven points, ahead of second-placed Mexico on goal-difference, while hosts Russia finished in third on three points and bowed out of the competition alongside New Zealand, who finished bottom without a point.