Portugal vs. Mexico
Date and Time: Sunday, June 18, 2017, 11 a.m. ET
Location: Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia
Soccer Odds: Portugal +105, O/U 2.5
Portugal vs. Mexico TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
Portugal and Mexico will both be comfortable favorites against both Russia and New Zealand, so the allure of both sides just getting a point from this one has to be huge.
The Portuguese side that is coming to Russia is certainly a strong one. The Euro 2016 champs have brought both Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo with them, and just those two players alone have to strike fear in the rest of the competition. It's a little disappointing not to see 19-year old Renato Sanches, one of the heroes of the Euro 2016 run, but there are still plenty of talented players in this midfield, not the least of which is Joao Moutinho, who figures to get to 100 caps in this tournament at some point.
Juan Carlos Osorio is constantly under a tremendous amount of pressure with this Mexico side. The press really lambasted him for the way the club played in a 1-1 draw against the United States in World Cup qualifying last weekend, but we think the world should back off. Osorio has only been beaten twice since taking over as the manager for El Tri. He has a couple wins against the United States on American soil, not the least of which was the win in the Confederations Cup playoff at the Rose Bowl last year. It's just that every single setback feels like the end of the world. If Mexico doesn't get out of the group stage here in Russia, Osorio could find himself on the chopping block.
The real question is whether CR7 is going to truly be the best player in the world in this tournament as he is expected to be. The Portuguese captain obviously had a banner year with Real Madrid, including helping the team to the Champions League title in a tournament where so many of Los Blancos' other top stars were nowhere to be found on the stat sheet.
Ronaldo though, has played a slew of really important soccer over the course of the last year and change. He's always been relied upon to be the hero in virtually every game for Real Madrid since showing up in Spain, and his run in Euro 2016 visibly took a lot out of him. Fortunately, the Confederations Cup isn't that long of a tournament at just five matches at most, but there's still a lot of soccer that have gone into these legs, and we just don't know if CR7 is going to have another big tournament in him.
Portugal vs. Mexico Free Picks
At a price of +105 on the moneyline, Portugal isn't a slam dunk. We think it's overstated here against a very good Mexico team, but we aren't in love with El Tri either. We think there was a real sense of boredom and pure tiredness against the United States on Sunday night at Estadio Azteca, and if that carries over into the Confederations Cup, we could see a relatively drab match to kick off this tournament.
We wouldn't be surprised if neither of these teams was ultimately able to find pay dirt, especially if Mexico is able to control the pace of play as it has so easily done against so many of its CONCACAF foes in recent years.
Portugal vs. Mexico Soccer Pick: Draw +237 at BookMaker.eu
Portugal vs. Mexico Score Prediction: Portugal 0, Mexico 0