Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal 'Confident' of Advancing to Confed Cup Final

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Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal 'Confident' of Advancing to Confed Cup Final

Cristiano Ronaldo said Portugal are "confident" of their chances of reaching the Confederations Cup final after beating New Zealand 4-0 to top Group A on Saturday.

Ronaldo was in the starting lineup despite coach Fernando Santos's suggestions he could rest his superstar, and he delivered Portugal's opening goal from the penalty spot before being substituted in the 67th minute.

Ronaldo's goal was his 75th with Portugal, taking him level with Sandor Kocsis in second on the list of international goals for European players, and he said he was happy to contribute.

"I helped the team, I scored the opening goal and I had a few more chances," Ronaldo said. "We played very well, we wanted to win and get the result in the first half.

"It was hard to play better than we played because the grass was not very good. We know that in the semifinals both Chile and Germany are great teams, but we are confident."

Chile and Germany are level on points atop Group B, though Australia or Cameroon could also sneak into the second-place spot with a win on Sunday. But Santos said he didn't have a preference on Portugal's opponents.

"[Chile and Germany] are two very strong teams," he said. "Now, I will analyse the opponents and prepare the game regardless of the opponent.

"It's another phase, totally different, but the aim is to win. We have to be better and more consistent, stronger in both ways. You have to try to reach the goal and prevent them from scoring."

As for Saturday's victory, Santos suggested the scoreline might have been a bit unfair to a New Zealand.

"We knew it could be complicated because we had seen New Zealand play Mexico and the problems they caused the Mexicans. So we were forewarned," he said.

"I thought we played well in many parts of the game; in others, not so well. Overall though, it was a fair victory. But I think the New Zealand team should have scored a goal -- they deserved one. They proved on the field that they're a team with a great spirit and real determination."

After a third straight defeat, New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said he was disappointed that his team allowed two late goals as they pushed forward.

"At 2-0 we could have kept the scoreline respectable, but we didn't," he said. "We had three strikers on the pitch and got caught at the end."

But Hudson took encouragement from the All Whites' performance against the European champions.

"Overall, there were some really positive signs in the game," he said. "We started the game really well, and were the stronger of the two teams. But we had a period in that first half when we allowed them to come into the game and gave ourselves too much to do to get back into it.

"But the biggest positive for me today was that we never, ever accepted the result. Every player went right to the end and there are so many positives I can take."

Source: ESPN