Soccer Fans Eagerly Await Start of FIFA Confederations Cup 2017

It will be European champion Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo in top form, taking on Gold Cup victor Mexico in a game that is likely to decide the group victor.

Following their match against the current CONCACAF Gold Cup holders, Portugal are set to play hosts Russian Federation in Moscow on 21 June and New Zealand in Saint Petersburg on 24 June.

Ricardo Carvalho hopes to watch Portugal add the Confederations Cup to their trophy cabinet after defying his advancing years to win the European Championship last season. Chile is ranked fourth, but lacks the same tradition as Portugal and Mexico and has struggled in South American qualifying. Germany, World Cup winners and joint favourites for the Confederations Cup, warmed up with a 7-0 win over San Marino last weekend. Group B has Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon. Coach Joachim Low defended his selections last week, saying that the focus remains on winning the World Cup next year and that players must have time to rest. It is played by the continental champions plus the host nation and the World Cup victor.

Portugal are fancied to go well, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and new Manchester City recruit Bernardo Silva named in a squad that looks to have a great mix of youth and experience.

"Regarding Ronaldo, he is motivated, and what I can see is that he is taking the competition very seriously and is totally dedicated to training and thinking about the next game against Mexico", Silva told reporters ahead of the European champions' opening game.

Ronaldo, the reigning world player of the year, is enjoying one of his greatest career runs, having scored 18 goals in his last 11 matches, including two in Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Juventus in the Champions League final.

Ronaldo was also involved in one of the game's biggest talking points, a "goal" that was disallowed after consultation with the Video Assistant Referees.

Ronaldo, Portugal's all-time leading scorer, is the latest in a long line of soccer players in Spain - among them Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Neymar - to be caught up in cases over tax or transfers.

Portugal's William Carvalho, left, and Mexico's Raul Jimenez fight for the ball during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Portugal will play against Mexico in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match sche.

He has helped Madrid win three Champions League titles. The teams drew 0-0 in a friendly in 1969, and in 2014 Portugal won 1-0 in another exhibition match.

Portugal doesn't have any player on its squad playing for Mexican clubs.

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