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MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Portugal’s national team got off to a good start in the battle for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup after defeating hosts Russia 1-0, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and President of Russia’s Football Union (RFU) Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Thursday.
The reigning European Champion overcame Russia 1-0 in the second group stage match of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup on Wednesday. The first goal in the match was scored in the 8th minute into the Russian net by Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the captain of the Portuguese team and is currently considered the world’s top footballer.
"Today Portugal is an outstanding team, the reigning European champion. It got off to a good start on the road to victory in the Confederations Cup. It is also a serious challenger for prize places at the World Cup," the Russian vice-premier said.
"They put together a very well-balanced team and that is why it is difficult to pick out any player. It is enough to say that the world’s top footballer plays for the team and he knows which position to assume and how to score. He is technically skilled and is a fantastic player. Their entire team is of the highest caliber - Pepe, Cedric Soares, Bruno Alves, Adrien Silva, Nani," the deputy prime minister stressed.
"There comes a time for each team when an exceptional generation appears and a great team is formed, which we now see with Portugal as an example. It is especially pleasant to see that our team played the match at its best, especially in the second half, with the reigning European champion. We could see our footballers’ dedication to the game, their yearning. They showed that they could play and employ new strategies. Of course, sometimes, performance skills, composure and experience are in short supply but all this will eventually fall into place," Mutko noted.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup that kicked off on June 17 is being held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi. In the concluding group stage match, Portugal will face off New Zealand on June 24 while Russia will clash with Mexicans on the same day.