While all eyes will be on Real Madrid frontman Cristiano Ronaldo, much of the focus from a Mexican perspective will be on coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Despite arriving to this match within touching distance of a World Cup berth, the pressure is on the 56-year-old after El Tri’s nightmare exit in their last summer’s Copa America Centenario. For this tournament, the Colombian boasts of one of the most talented group of Mexican players in recent memory, and the feeling around Mexico is El Tri can pull of a shock victory over the “Selecção”.
Interestingly, out of the eight teams competing, Mexico arrive to this tournament as being the only country to have previously won the tournament. Portugal, on the other hand, will be making their tournament debut after conquering last year’s Euro championship.
Previously, the two nations have met on three occasions, and Mexico has never been able to beat Portugal. Their most famous encounter took place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup where Portugal defeated El Tri 2-1, thanks to goals from Maniche and Simao.
Needless to say, much has changed in 10 years, and just as Mexico are a different team, so are Portugal. The newly crowned champions have arguably one of the top-two best players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, and the onus will be on the Mexican defenders to stop one of the most lethal finishers in the history of world soccer.
Date: Sunday, June 18
Time: 8:00 AM Pacific, 10:00 AM Central, 11:00 AM Eastern
Venue: Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia
Television: Telemundo (US-Spanish), Fox Sports 1 (US-English), UnivisionTDN (Mexico), SKY Planeta Fútbol (Mexico), Azteca 13 (Mexico), TyC Sports Internacional (Mexico), TDN (Mexico), Canal de las Estrellas (Mexico), Sky HD (Mexico)