FIFA Confederations Cup – Ronaldo’s header earn victory for Portugal against host Russia

GROUP A

Russia 0 – 1 Portugal 

Cristiano Ronaldo headed the only goal as Portugal recorded their first win at the Confederations Cup by beating hosts Russia.

Ronaldo connected to Raphael Guerreiro’s cross in the eighth minute as Portugal stay second in Group A, a point clear of the Russians.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, earning his 100th cap, denied Portugal victory by a greater margin as he made vital saves from Ronaldo and Andre Silva either side of half-time.

Russia were poor before half-time and although they improved after it, they were repeatedly hit on the break as they committed men to the search for an equaliser.

The goal was Ronaldo’s 74th senior international goal on his 141st appearance for his country.

“I wish he was Argentine” – Maradona on Cristiano Ronaldo 

Diego Maradona says he wishes Cristiano Ronaldo was Argentine, but still prefers Lionel Messi to lead the Albiceleste.

“Cristiano is an animal,” Maradona told TyC Sports. “I wish he was Argentine.

“But I still prefer Messi. He is enjoying playing football and goes by opponents with ease.

“I don’t remember seeing Messi play badly. Even if Messi does not win a World Cup, he will be remembered in football history.

“Leo cannot deliver the World Cup on his own. Even if he does not win a World Cup, we will still remember him.”

FIFA Confederations Cup – Russia 2017 : Portugal  denied victory by a late Hector Moreno goal

GROUP A 

Portugal 2 – 2 Mexico

Hector Moreno snatched a stoppage-time equaliser as Mexico denied Portugal a late victory in their opening Confederations Cup match.

Pepe had a goal disallowed for offside after a referral to the video assistant referees before Ricardo Quaresma sold the keeper a dummy and slotted in.

Javier Hernandez equalised with a low header from Carlos Vela’s cross.

Cedric Soares’ 86th-minute shot was deflected in, but Hector Moreno snatched a point in the 91st minute.

Mexico defender Moreno, who recently joined Italian side Roma from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, headed in off the post from a Jonathan dos Santos cross.

Earlier, Ronaldo had a header brilliantly tipped away by Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa, while Gelson Martins- a target for Liverpool – fired just wide on the counter for Portugal.

FIFA World ranking

Belgium retained their spot as number one in the latest FIFA world ranking released by FIFA on Thursday morning, ending the year as the ‘Team Of The Year’. Argentina and Spain are second and third respectively, with world champions Germany slipping to fourth.

 

England remain ninth in the world rankings, while Wales have dropped two places to 17th.

 

Nigeria’s senior national team has dropped seven places to 66th, and are ranked 14th in Africa.

 

Ghana has dropped three places from 30th to 33rd position.

However, the Black Stars remain third in Africa.

 

Ivory Coast are now ranked first in Africa replacing Algeria with the latter dropping to second spot.

 

Turkey receive the award for best mover of the year thanks to the 329 points they collected over the last 12 months of football. Having last competed at a major tournament back in 2008, Turkey secured a place at the Uefa Euro 2016 in a campaign that saw them defeat Netherlands.

 

The highest climbers of 2013, thanks to nine wins, two draws and only one defeat, are Ukraine, who have collected no fewer than 312 points since December 2012, moving up 29 places to 18th and gaining the title of Mover of the Year for the first time.

 

In contrast, Portugal dropped three places into 7th having lost 145 points – the most points lost by a team.

 

The next Fifa World Ranking will be published on 7 January 2016.

 

World Top 10:

1. Belgium

2. Argentina

3. Spain

4. Germany

5. Chile

6. Brazil

7. Portugal

8. Colombia

9. England

10. Austria