16th of June 2017 Author: Johnny Karp
The first big match of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will take place on Sunday in Kazan where European Champions Portugal take on Mexico in Group A. The two teams have last met in a friendly match in 2014, which Portugal won 1-0 thanks to a goal scored by Bruno Alves. The two nations also clashed at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and Portugal won 2-1 back then with goals scored by Maniche and Simao.
Portugal lost two of their nine matches after the memorable triumph at the 2016 European Championship in France, but one of those defeats was in a friendly match. They still have to fight to qualify for next year's World Cup as they are second behind Switzerland in their group, but Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates are solid enough to pull that through. Their defensive record is also very good, they have kept nine clean sheets in their last thirteen matches and only lost twice during that period.
Mexico are always a strong presence at final tournaments and an opponent that has to be treated with deserved respect. In fact, they have lost just two of their last 36 matches, a solid record for any team from any part of the world. Last time out they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by North-American rivals USA, but they are still comfortably leading the World Cup qualification group and will most likely earn their spot at next year's final tournament before too long.
Portugal: Patricio - Soares, Fonte, Pepe, Guerreiro - Quaresma, Moutinho, Carvalho, Gomes - Ronaldo, Silva
Mexico: Ochoa - Salcedo, Araujo, Moreno, Layun - J. dos Santos, Herrera - Vela, Fabian, G. dos Santos - Chicharito
My prediction: Portugal to win 1-0.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Portugal win - 2.10
Draw - 3.40
Mexico win - 3.90
16th of June 2017
21st of June 2017
Portugal was the pre-game favourite of bookies but it was quite an even game I think.
Both teams had their chances for a win but maybe that was one deserved draw in the end, it's still just the first group match so nothing fatal for both teams just the other way round - a positive start and entertaining game to begin with.
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