Preview: Portugal v Mexico
Tournament debutants Portugal will be at full strength
A tournament winner in 1999, Rafael Marquez is a doubt for Sunday’s game
Match to be refereed by Nestor Pitana of Argentina
European champions Portugal will make their entrance at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 against Mexico at the Kazan Arena on Sunday, with the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, The Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2016, making them obvious favourites.
What you need to know 1. The only player at Russia 2017 who knows what it means to win the FIFA Confederations Cup is Rafael Marquez, who lifted the trophy in 1999. The Mexico captain is struggling with a back problem, however, and is a doubtful starter for his side’s opener.
2. The last time these two sides met was in a warm-up match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ in Foxborough (USA) in June of that year. Bruno Alves won the game in injury time for the Portuguese, powering a header past Guillermo Ochoa from a free-kick.
3. Three Mexican players (Raul Jimenez, Miguel Layun and Hector Herrera) play their club football in the Portuguese league – Jimenez with reigning league and cup champions Benfica and Layun and Herrera with Porto. The trio will no doubt have plenty of useful information to pass on to El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
FIFA.com team reporter analysis Marco Monteiro, with Portugal Hopes are high among Portugal fans, as their heroes prepare for what promises to be a passionate encounter. Known for leaving nothing to chance when it comes to analysing his own team and the opposition, coach Fernando Santos has some interesting decisions to make in midfield when he comes to pick a starting XI from his very talented squad. Will he stick with experience or go for a bolder approach with his promising youngsters?
Martin Langer, with Mexico Mexico are in fine fettle heading into the tournament. With their attack-minded, possession-based style, they have moved out front in the final six-team qualifying round in the CONCACAF region for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The only misgiving among their fans is that they have not faced much in the way of top-quality opposition of late, though Portugal certainly fit that category. If El Tri can execute their game plan, a win is not out of the question.
Possible line-ups Portugal: Rui Patricio; Bruno Alves, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, Cedric; William Carvalho, Joao Moutinho, Andre Gomes; Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Carlos Salcedo, Hector Moreno, Nestor Araujo, Miguel Layun; Jonathan Dos Santos, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado; Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez