Portugal Earn Spot in Semis with 4-0 2017 Confederations Cup Win vs. New Zealand

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2017

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo eyes the ball during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between New Zealand and Portugal at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV        (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Portugal beat New Zealand 4-0 in Group A of the 2017 Confederations Cup on Saturday, qualifying for the last four.

A penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring after 32 minutes, and Bernardo Silva doubled the lead before half-time.

Andre Silva blasted home with 10 minutes remaining to claim the victory in style after a busy performance for the young striker.

Nani scored a fourth goal in stoppage time for Portugal.

(From L) Portugal's defender Pepe, Portugal's goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Portugal's defender Bruno Alves vie with New Zealand's defender Tommy Smith (R) and New Zealand's forward Chris Wood during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match betwee

The All Whites battled hard throughout the contest but could not convert when in the box.

Portugal topped the group after their endeavours.

Having already been knocked out of the competition, the All Whites played the game in the correct spirit, but their lack of talent was the deciding factor.

Portugal included Nelson Semedo and Danilo Pereira in the starting XI, with Ronaldo not given the day off despite playing inferior opposition.

Joao Moutinho was drafted in to the side to earn his 100th cap for the Portuguese team.

Tommy Doyle was handed a start in the New Zealand defence as they made just a solitary change from the 2-1 defeat against Mexico.

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 24: Gelson Martins of Portugal in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Group A match between New Zealand and Portugal at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 24, 2017 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Bud
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

New Zealand started positively as Chris Wood fired at goal, but Portugal quickly regrouped.

Ronaldo saw his shot blocked midway through the first half, with his team now on the front foot and looking for an opener.

The deadlock was broken by the Real Madrid icon from the penalty spot after Danilo was clipped by Doyle for a soft foul.

BT Sport Football highlighted Ronaldo's international efforts:

Moments later, it was 2-0, as Manchester City new boy Bernardo Silva scored after excellent work from Ricardo Quaresma.

Wood had a good chance to pull a goal back on the stroke of half-time, but the forward fluffed his lines at the final second.

The All Whites continued to work hard in the second half, but there was a gulf in true quality.

New Zealand began to create more as Portugal relaxed with their lead intact, but Wood could not find an elusive strike—with a shot cleared off the line.

Portugal's forward Nani (3rd R) celebrates with Portugal's defender Bruno Alves and teammates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between New Zealand and Portugal at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersbu

Ronaldo was replaced with 27 minutes remaining as Nani was given a run-out for his former Manchester United team-mate.

The substitute winger almost made an immediate impact, but his shot flashed wide.

Andre Silva secured the points in the 80th minute as the attacker burst through to emphatically finish into the roof of the net.

The summer AC Milan signing almost grabbed his brace in the final moments, and there was enough time for Nani to make it 4-0 as the clock ticked towards the final whistle.