Hostilities at the 10th edition of the Confederations cup resumes with the second round of fixtures in both groups holding on the 21st and 22nd of June. Thus far, the VARs have been the men of the match at almost every game played and we can only hope that the process is improved and faster time for key decisions are achieved as the tournament progresses, here is our preview of what to expect in the games scheduled to take place today.
Russia VS Portugal (4pm): The Hosts began the tournament in fine form with a comfortable two goal victory over New Zealand and they go into this knowing that a win will all but secure their semi-final place in the tournament. With constant speculation over the choice of Russia as the hosts of the next World Cup, doing well on the pitch will go a long way in bringing some form of assurance and excitement to the home fans. They are up against fellow debutants and European Champions Portugal who despite being tipped as favorites before the start of the competition and parading the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo were unable to get maximum points from their opening fixture as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Mexico courtesy of a late Hector Moreno equalizer. The Portuguese have abundant of talents going forward and Fernando Santos will be keen to unleash some of these on the Russians which may include starting young and exciting forward Andre Silva who changed the pace of the game in the few minutes he featured. For Portugal, even though a win is vital, a draw will not be too bad a result knowing they go into the last game against the weakest side in the group and also considering how they struggled in the group stages before emerging Champions of the Euro nations cup. It should be a thrilling one as the Russians are unbeaten in their last three home meetings against the Portuguese.
Prediction: Russia 1 Portugal 2
Mexico VS New Zealand (7 pm): Coming off the back of a 2-2 draw in their Group A opener against Portugal, Mexico know that anything short of a win in this game for the CONCACAF Champions will put their chance of progression at a risk. The Mexicans proved in the first game that their attacking talents of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and Carlos Vela can be a force to reckon with but the major headache for their manager Juan Carlos Osorio will be at the back where they were in disarray for major spells of their game though against a more impressive attacking force. New Zealand are the underdogs and the weakest side going into the competition and the Kiwis deployed a 3-5-2 formation in their opening fixture but still struggled to match the Russians. Mexico is expected to win this game and win by a healthy margin but an upset will be a thing of delight for the neutrals
Prediction: Mexico 3 New Zealand 0