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Russia Rush Out of Confederations Cup



While it was a cruise into the semi-finals for a Ronaldo-inspired Portugal, hosts, Russia had nightmare, becoming the first host nation since Korea/Japan 2002 to fail to make it beyond the group stage in the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Russia got stunned 1-2 by Mexico which came second in Group A behind European champions, Portugal.

The hosts initially looked primed to get to the semi-finals when Alexander Samedov opened scoring in the first half. But Mexico’s Nestor Araujo levelled up before Hirving Lozano got the winner.

For Portugal, they predictably beat the New Zealand. After initial resistance by the Oceania team, New Zealand eventually crumbled 4-0.

Cristiano Ronaldo, with rumours abound of him being rested ahead of the game, started and was Portugal’s protagonist once more. He hit the crossbar with a header before converting a first half penalty after Danilo had been felled by Tommy Smith.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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