Group A comes to a close on Saturday, with a pair of spots in the semifinals on the line. The group is jam-packed at the top, with nobody confirmed on to the next round and only New Zealand eliminated.
Russia meets group-leaders Mexico at 11:00 a.m. ET in Kazan, with the hosts needing a win to advance, while a draw would complicate things for Stanislav Cherchesov’s squad. Mexico needs just a draw to confirm advancement.
Mexico has brought back its first-choice lineup for the final group stage match, with a number of rotations made in the near-disaster against New Zealand. However, Carlos Salcedo is out with a dislocated shoulder, bringing Nestor Araujo into the starting lineup. Hector Moreno starts despite his injury concerns.
On the other side, Portugal takes on New Zealand with a chance to win the group still intact. Portugal sits in second position currently, level with Mexico on both points and goal difference, but behind by one on goals scored. Should Portugal win and earn a greater goal difference or outscore Mexico by more than one, they would win the group.
Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Portugal yet again, fresh off his match-winning goal against Russia. They see both full-backs rotated from that match, with Raphael Guerreiro and Cedric rotated for Eliseu and Nelson Semedo.
New Zealand has already been eliminated, without a point thus far in the competition despite a pair of spirited performances for the Group A underdogs.
Mexico: Ochoa, Moreno, Reyes, Layun, Araujo, Herrera, Guardado, J dos Santos, Hernandez, Lozano, Vela.
Russia: Akinfeev, Jikia, Kudryashov, Vasin, Glushakov, Erokhin, Bukharov, Samedov, Smolov, Zhirkov, Golovin.
Portugal: Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Eliseu, Semedo, Moutinho, Pereira, B Silva, Quaresma, Ronaldo, A Silva.
New Zealand: Marinovic, Durante, Smith, Boxall, Doyle, Ingham, Rojas, Thomas, McGlinchey, Wood, Lewis.