Confederations Cup Ronaldo Header Downs Hosts Russia

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson conceded the game was physical but suggested the competitive display of his unfancied team was behind the Mexicans' angry response to some incidents.

He didn't respect Wednesday's enough.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Mexico asserted its superiority in the second half against New Zealand to avoid a Confederations Cup embarrassment on Wednesday, coming from behind to win a fiery Group A encounter 2-1 that ended in a brawl.

A rejuvenated Mexico, with Hector Herrera coming on at the break, completed the comeback using speed down the wings.

Chance-wise the closing stages of the match produced not many chances.

Offensively, Russia benefited from an own goal from New Zealand in the first game.

Instead, teams are now encouraged to play on until the referee stops the game, no matter how many players are down injured or how serious the injury appears to be. In a frantic second half Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta scored to turn the result on its head. While the lineup was created to be attacking by nature, Jurgen Damm, Jimenez, Peralta and Giovani dos Santos hardly put their feet to the ball in the opening 45 minute. Before that, in all the matches without exception, the Mexican team took the victory.

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The first half had been all Portugal and had they been a little more clinical, they would have had a fairly comfortable lead. Both teams are yet to win in the competition and must get the three points from the encounter. As soon as that match ends, Germany vs. Chile pregame will begin, followed by the two power teams meeting at 2 p.m. ET. But having three central midfielders who are in good form and all looked good against Portugal and then electing to put none of them on was a puzzling decision and a miscalculation from the Colombian tactician. Osorio's team will be risky if they get it together. Formation wise, with New Zealand most likely to sit back with 9 players behind the ball, El Tri won't have much use for playing with a three-man backline which they did at times against Portugal.

Russian Federation chose to head into the second half with a slight change of formation as head coach Stanislav Cherchesov made a decision to take off Roman Shishkin and introduce Aleksandr Erokhin, who was given a more prominent role pushing upfront right behind isolated Smolov.

"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".

What's clear is that Osorio had his hand forced by the mistakes he made in picking his squad.

Mexico equalised when Aquino broke down the left flank and passed to Marco Fabian, who squared for forward Jimenez to fire home on 54 minutes.

Mexico is now topping its group, making it extremely likely that the team - and its supporters - will be back in Russian Federation next year for the World Cup. It will be surprising to see Salcedo back in the right-back slot after a mediocre performance in the first match but it will be interesting to see if Juan Carlos Osorio decides to make some changes coming up against a weak opponent in New Zealand. The rotations must be wiser and less drastic.

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