Mexico motivated for Portugal clash
Mexico defender Miguel Layun (center) at a training session ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup on June 15, 2017, in Kazan, Russia. (Photo: Straffon Images)

KAZAN, Russia – Mexico’s 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign launches Sunday with a tantalizing clash against 2016 European champion Portugal at the Kazan Arena.

Needless to say, the Tricolor is highly motivated to begin its quest for a second title in the competition.

“We have a great game ahead of us,” defender Miguel Layun said to reporters following Thursday’s training session.  “We have worked a lot to be able to do things well and get a very big result for each one of us.”

One of the encounter’s more intriguing aspects will be how the Mexican defense manages a Portuguese offense led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.  Defender Carlos Salcedo believes there are answers to any potential questions.

“We know what Portugal is capable of, but we also have great players, so they too have been watching us,” commented the 23-year-old, a recent Eintracht Frankfurt acquisition.  “With a lot of calm, patience, circulation of the ball, I think the best way of defending ourselves is having the ball and taking care of it.”

Attacker Hirving Lozano is of the viewpoint that facing a heavyweight like Portugal represents a great way to kick off the tournament.

“What’s good is that we play them in the first match,” the 21-year-old Pachuca standout said.  “It is going to be a nice, attractive match.  It is going to be a difficult contest, but we are going to do things well.”

Mexico is 9W-5D-8L in 22 all-time Confederations Cup games.