The second round of matches from Group A of the Confederations Cup 2017 is set to kick off on Wednesday as Russia take on Portugal in the first match at Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Hosts Russia started their campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand and they will hope to build on that as Portugal look to get their first win of the tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his team only managed a 2-2 against Mexico in their opening Confederations Cup 2017 match. Portugal were on course to win their match against Mexico after Cedric Soares gave them the lead in the 86th minute but Hector Moreno levelled the score line in stoppage time and both teams had to settle for a draw.
Russia currently top Group A after their win against New Zealand while Portugal sit in third place and need to get the three points on Wednesday if they are to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage. Based on the quality of players that will be on display, Portugal should be able to get the win against Russia and in their final group match against New Zealand.
Prior to the start of the tournament, Portugal's star player and captain Ronaldo was accused of tax fraud, and despite not being at his best in the opener against Mexico, Coach Fernando Santos insisted Ronaldo remains "extremely concentrated". Defender Pepe also spoke about Ronaldo and said all they are thinking about is winning.
"We are professionals. We are just thinking about doing our best in the Confederations Cup and to go as far as we can in this tournament. It is the first time Portugal plays in it, so it is a privilege for us all to be here. And as for Cristiano, he is one player who is completely motivated to help Portugal, as he has always done," ESPN quoted Pepe as saying.
As for Russia, it's certainly going to be a tough ask for home team to come up with a win against Portugal and Mexico but given their home advantage they could do it. Fedor Smolov, who scored against New Zealand, said that the Russian team must not focus only on trying to nullify Ronaldo.
As for their coach, Stanislav Cherchesov is not bothered by all the media attention surrounding the Portuguese captain.
"If somebody is influenced by something else other than football, then who knows? We are better talking about our own squad and football, all the rest can be published by other media," Cherchesov said.
The two nations have met three times in Moscow prior to this encounter and all those matches have ended in wins for the home side, and they have won without conceding a single goal. So based on history and Nika the polar bear, Russia will be expected to get the win, but based on the calibre of players each team possesses, Portugal should get the three points.
Where to watch
The Confederations Cup 2017 match between Russia and Portugal is set to start at 6:00pm local time, 8:30pm IST and 11:00am EST.
TV and live streaming information
India: TV:Sony Six/HD, Ten 2. Live streaming: Sony Liv
Mexico: TV: UnivisionTDN, SKY Planeta Fútbol and Azteca 13
Portugal: TV:RTP 1
Russia: TV: Channel One Russia
USA: TV:STV Scotland, UTV, ITV 1 UK
UK: TV:Telemundo, Fox Sports 1. Live streaming:Fox Sports GO