Sunday 18 June 2017

Portugal vs Mexico - 16:00 - Confederations Cup

On June 18th, Portugal and Mexico will be playing their first match in the Confederations Cup. Both teams share Group A with Russia and New Zealand. Although it’s the first game, it may well be a decisive encounter, since the winner will be well positioned for the next two matches and hence possible qualification.

Portugal are one of the main candidates to lift the trophy. The team managed by Fernando Santos are a tough one for any rival. They won the European Cup with a combative team that was effective in attack when it needed to be. Cristiano Ronaldo is the beacon up front, of course, but Portugal has other good players to surround him, such as Bernardo Silva, the offensive midfielder who had a wonderful season with Monaco. The young forward André Silva too, who will be playing for Milan after his great season at Porto, will also be starting.

Mexico arrive in Russia with the qualification for the World Cup almost in their pockets, following their 1-1 Draw with USA on the 12th. Juan Carlos Osorio will be starting an offensive team, with one defensive midfielder (probably Ricardo Reyes), three offensive midfielders (Jonathan dos Santos, Herrera and Guardado) and two defined forwards (Carlos Vela and Chicharito Hernández). This approach will work if the defense, lead by the veteran Rafa Márquez, can cover the open spaces that Portugal will try to occupy.

Portugal are the favorite according to the bookmakers, with odds on average at 11/10. Given the tight encounter we are expecting, since it’s the first match of the competition and both teams will be cautious, a draw at 9/4 is good value. If you believe that Cristiano Ronaldo will be the first player to score, you may want to bet on that too. At 11/4 it's not a bad bet in my view.


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