Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 2/1
The third-place match is a game no team wants to play. However, the rules stipulate that there must be a third-placed side in the tournament. And Mexico and Portugal will battle in Moscow to determine which team takes the honour of stepping into the last place of the podium in the 2017 Confederations Cup. Kick off will be on Sunday at 13:00 hrs, UK time.
Portugal are coming off a heart-breaking loss against Chile in a penalty shootout. Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Joao Moutinho all failed to score from the spot, so the reigning European champions must settle with a potential third-place finish as their consolation prize. Fernando Santos’ men have not looked like a threatening side during this competition, and things will be even more complicated for them with the confirmed absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal are a top team with him, but they decrease considerably without their star forward. There will be a pride thing involved because no one wants to lose two decisive games in a row, but Portugal are not the scary side they could have been with Ronaldo leading the way.
As we mentioned above, Portugal will miss their best player since Cristiano Ronaldo received a leave of absence following Wednesday’s defeat against Chile so he could meet his newborn children.
Raphäel Guerreiro is out as well due to a foot fracture. The rest of the squad should be available, including Pepe who missed the game against Chile with a suspension. But there is a chance of rotation considering they have nothing to play for.
Mexico were absolutely outplayed by Germany in the semifinal round. It was so bad that they conceded two goals in the first 10 minutes, and could not bounce back afterwards. We won’t deny Los Aztecas showed a decent fighting spirit. However, that was not enough and Germany won 4-1 rather easily. Juan Carlos Osorio tends to rotate their players a lot, so there is a big chance we will see several changes considering their latest defeat. But Mexico has a talented squad, and players such as Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos, and Javier Hernandez have enough pace and skill to complicate a relatively slow Portugal defensive line.
As it has been the case over the past few matches, Mexico won’t be at full strength ahead of this game.
The reigning CONCACAF champions won’t have defenders Carlos Salcedo and Diego Reyes due to injury. And Jesus Corona will not be available either, as the winger dropped himself out of the squad for the tournament due to personal reasons.
Key Factors to Consider
- Both teams met in the first round of the tournament, and Mexico escaped with a 2-2 draw thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Hector Moreno.
- Portugal will have the important absence of Cristiano Ronaldo due to personal reasons.
- Both sides will have important returns, though. Andres Guardado and Pepe will return following their respective one-game suspensions.
- Portugal have one of the best defences in the tournament, as they have allowed only two goals in four matches.
- It will be the third time Mexico play in the third-place game in the Confederations Cup. They finished third in 1995, and ended in fourth place back in 2005.
It is quite hard to imagine how both teams will line up. But if we consider both sides will rotate, and adding the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo will not play, then Mexico have a slight edge. I expect the CONCACAF side to take home the win in a low-scoring affair.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 2/1
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