Equaled the fourth place in the last edition, in 2016, in Colombia, Portugal now wants to surpass the third place of 2000, in Guatemala, and, for that, it requires to overcome Kazakhstan, which is disputing, for the first time, as ‘ socks’ from the competition.
However, the team led by Brazilian Kaká is even above Portugal in the European ranking, in third place, just above the European champions, who are fourth in a list led by Spain, followed by Russia, both already eliminated.
It was precisely at the 2000 World Cup that the short history of clashes between the two teams began: in the group stage, Portugal beat the Kazakh team 6-2, in a group where they finished second, with six points, behind Brazil. with nine.
For 21 years, Portugal and Kazakhstan only met on another occasion, in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship, this time with a 3-1 defeat by the ‘quinas’ team, which puts the record of clashes in a victory for each side.
To reach this stage of the tournament, Portugal finished at the top of Group C, with seven points, leading from victories against Thailand (4-1) and the Solomon Islands (7-0) and a draw with Morocco (3-3), having, in the knockout phase, as a result of Serbia, in the round of 16, by 4-3, after extra time, which was also needed in the quarters, to defeat Spain, by 4-2, after recovering, in epic fashion , from a disadvantage of two goals.
Kazakhstan also led with seven points in Group A, with victories against Costa Rica (6-1) and hosts Lithuania (3-0) and a draw with Venezuela (1-1), having eliminated Thailand, 7-0, in the ’round of 16′, and Iran, 3-2, in the quarter-finals.
In the other semi-final, Argentina managed to keep alive the dream of revalidating the world scepter, conquered in 2016, in Colombia, by beating Brazil, 2-1, in a game in which pragmatism and defensive solidity were the ‘keys’ before a wasteful rival.
In this way, Portugal already knows that, in case of victory, they will face the ‘albiceleste’ team in the final of the tournament, or, if they lose against Kazakhstan, they will meet the ‘Canarinhos’ in the meeting of third and fourth place, played before the deciding game.
The semi-final match between Portugal and Kazakhstan is scheduled to start at 20:00 (18:00 in Lisbon), at Zalgiris Arena, in Kaunas, which will also host a final.