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Confed Cup hosts Russia face decisive match against Mexico
June 23, 2017 / 7:08 PM / 5 months ago

Confed Cup hosts Russia face decisive match against Mexico

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Hosts Russia are fully focused on staying in the Confederations Cup as they face elimination in their final group game against Mexico, coach Stanislav Cherchesov said on Friday.

Football Soccer - Russia Training - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 23, 2017 Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov and players during training REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia, third in Group A behind Mexico and Portugal, need to beat the Mexicans in their final group stage match on Saturday in Kazan to advance to the semi-finals.

“About tomorrow’s match - we will play how we need to - but the most important thing will be to win,” Cherchesov told reporters.

“On paper they seem better than us. We respect this team. It played two very good games. We know very much what we need to do.”

Football Soccer - Russia Training - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 23, 2017 Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov during training REUTERS/John Sibley

A loss for Russia would eliminate them from the tournament that is a warm-up for the World Cup finals it will host next year.

Russia made strong start, convincingly beating New Zealand 2-0 in the tournament’s opening match in St Petersburg.

Football Soccer - Russia Training - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 23, 2017 Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov speaks to players during training REUTERS/John Sibley

But Cherchesov’s squad lost 1-0 to Portugal on Wednesday, a precise header by Cristiano Ronaldo giving his team a 1-0 victory and spoiling Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s 100th cap.

Cherchesov dismissed the idea that another defeat would derail his team’s preparations for the World Cup.

“We are not thinking about the semi-final,” Cherchesov said. “We have guys who are self-confident and who are only thinking about today’s job.”

Reporting by Moscow newsroom, editing by Ed Osmond

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