Russia vs Portugal by Isaiah
Russia did well to get a victory in the first round against surely the weakest link in this group, as the hosts of this tournament overpowered New Zealand with a 2:0 result. Even though they deserved the victory and were better than the opponents for the whole time, Russians didn't leave the best possible impression as maybe a bit more was expected from the hosting nation.
They had much more of the ball possession in first halftime, but rarely created chances however still managed to take the lead in 31st minute with an own goal. Visitors played more openly in the second halftime and Russians were able to seal the victory in 69th minute via Smolov. After this three pointer taken, it's sure that it won't be enough to quality and the team must be serious in next two remaining matches in order to end up at two first positions. They should be playing in 3-5-2 formation with Poloz and Smolov as forwards, while few changes might be expected after their first round game.
Portugal, on the other side, had a very interesting game against Mexico in the group opener, as the match ended as a 2:2 draw game and probably was one of the best matches in the first round. Even though Portuguese weren't up to their desired level, since they left the ball possession to the Mexicans and didn't look completely determined, they were still very dangerous in attack.
They took the lead in 33rd minute via Quaresma, while Chicharito leveled up in 42nd for 1:1. Cedric brought them back into the lead in 86th minute and when everyone thought that the Portuguese side will take the victory, Moreno replied with a goal in first minute of additional time. Overall, it was quite a balanced game with Mexico having more of the ball possession, but the Portuguese were very concrete in attack when in final part of the field (attacking one). After this match, players such as Bernardo Silva, Gelson Martins and Andre Silva are all pushing for a start here. They should be playing in 4-4-2 formation with Ronaldo and most likely Silva as forwards.
It's hard to argue with the fact that the Portuguese side has much more quality than the Russians. Now that they have drawn in the first leg against Mexico, there's no other option but to seek for a victory and attack here. I have no doubts that the hosts of this tournament will not be able to respond in attack.