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Russian Federation face decisive match against Mexico at Confed Cup

24 June 2017

Coach Fernando Santos has suggested he may give his leading man a rest, however, which would be sweet relief to the likes of Andrew Durante and Michael Boxall who are set to mark him.

Portugal won their last game 1-0, but it could, and probably should, have been a wider margin.

Osorio made just one change at half-time, deciding to trust his team and whatever he said at the interval must have worked because Mexico came flying out of the blocks and looked to equalise nearly immediately.

"I don't know if I'm going to play with Cristiano or without Cristiano", Santos said through a translator.

Group rival Mexico and New Zealand meet later in Sochi. The All Whites lost 2-1 to Mexico on Wednesday despite having led at half-time.

Veteran defender Rafael Marquez, the only player in the current side to have also played in the title-winning Mexican team in 1999, came on in the 72nd minute for what might just be his final global cap and the 38-year-old's presence immediately calmed his teammates.

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Things remain tight in Group A before Saturday's final round.

The Seleccao are now second in their group and next up, they will face arguably the weakest side of the competition, New Zealand.

Find out what time New Zealand vs Portugal gets underway where you are in the world.

Like he did before the Mexico game, Hudson called on the Kiwis to be "brave" against the European champions.

Even with Russian Federation being the host nation, the pressure has again been increased for Osorio after the lackluster effort against New Zealand.

Group A of the Confederations Cup has come down to the final matchday and nobody has clinched a spot in the semifinals.

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Mexico rallied in the second half and equalised through Raul Jimenez in the 54th minute.

The spark was Chris Wood shooting at goal while Mexico defender Carlos Salcedo was down injured after his left shoulder was hurt in an off-the-ball tangle with the striker.

For Russia, anything but a victory will mean an early exit from its home tournament, although advancing was already seen as a hard task in a group with Mexico and Portugal.

After the draw with Portugal, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio made eight changes against New Zealand, a plan that initially backfired before his side recovered after the break. "In the second half we came out with a different attitude", he said. "That's very important. In all games we go on to the pitch to win, we have that confidence in ourselves".

Russia's coach Stanislav Cherchesov, on his part, dismissed suggestions that his team had been affected by nerves.

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Russian Federation face decisive match against Mexico at Confed Cup