KAZAN, Russia (AP) – Host nation Russia fought valiantly effort but could not avoid early elimination at the Confederations Cup after a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Saturday, a result that secured the Mexicans in the semifinals of the World Cup warm-up tournament.
Portugal also advanced from Group A after beating last-place New Zealand in St. Petersburg.
Needing a victory to advance from its difficult group, the hosts played well and took the lead with a goal by Alexander Samedov in the first half, but the experienced Mexicans equalized with Nestor Araujo before halftime and secured the victory early in the second with a goal by Hirving Lozano after a blunder by Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
The Russians had plenty of chances, but poor finishing kept them from earning a better result. Several players missed clear scoring opportunities throughout the match in front of 41,585 fans at Kazan Arena.
Mexico had a second-half goal by defender Hector Moreno disallowed for offside after video review.
Russia was the lowest-ranked team in the eight-nation competition among continental champions plus the World Cup winner and the host nation.