Portugal vs Mexico Preview: European Champions face tough opening test

Cristiano Ronaldo and company will have their hands full with Mexico on Sunday.

Portugal vs Mexico Preview: European Champions face tough opening test
Cristiano Ronaldo trains ahead of his country's opening game. (Source: Michael Regan - FIFA/Getty Images)

The second game of the 2017 Confederations Cup pits the European champions, Portugal, up against Mexico, the CONCACAF champions in perhaps the most enticing game of the group stages. 

After Russia's 2-0 win over New Zealand in the tournament's opening game, both sides will be aiming to open their accounts with three points with qualification very much expected for both sides.

Team News

Portugal: All the stars will be on show for the Euro 2016 winners. Cristiano Ronaldo aims to lead his team to another piece of silverware despite plenty of outside pressure and rumours surrounding his future. Young stars Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva, both recently making the switch to new clubs, will be hoping to show the world that they can carry the load as the future faces of Portugal.

The injury report shows no players likely to miss Portugal's opener, which means plenty of selection headaches for head coach Fernando Santos.

Mexico: After winning the 2015 CONCACAF playoff to reach the Confederations Cup, Mexico have serious thoughts about winning the competition but will likely play the underdog role along the way. Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela headline the attack for Mexico while the dos Santos brothers will be eager to play their part. 

The only injury issue came prior to the tournament as Jesus Corona pulled out of the squad and he was replaced by Jürgen Damm

What to watch for

The 2017 Confederations Cup is a teaser for the 2018 World Cup, with plenty of stars on show as the champions from each qualifying section battle in Russia.

Sunday's main attraction will be none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. The 32-year old was exceptional in last summer's European Championships and if he can perform at his very best, Portugal have to be considered one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Mexico have enough talent to surprise teams in the tournament and will look to make a similar run to their rivals, the USA, who reached the final back in 2009. Sunday's game will be a tough test for Mexico but a welcomed test as they have glory on their minds.

Reason for Mexican confidence?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico have never beaten Portugal, losing their last two meetings, including a defeat at the 2006 World Cup. The most recent defeat came in June of 2014 as Portugal won 1-0 in a friendly. 

In what may be the best game of the group stages, Portugal and Mexico should provide plenty of entertainment between two teams more than capable of going all the way this summer. 

International Football