Brazil take on Mexico in the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza Tuesday and 3 p.m. Eastern time. It’s the start of the second round of games in Group A. If Brazil wins, it will become the first team from the 2014 World Cup to qualify for the last 16. The last time the two teams met competitively was a famous win for Mexico at the 2012 London Olympics.
Here’s what you need to know about this crucial Group A game:
1. Brazil Will Probably Get Another Easy Ride From the Ref
There will be huge interest in the game’s referee Cuneyt Cakir. After Yuichi Nishimura’s controversial role in the Brazil’s opening game win over Croatia. There was the potential for an early red card for Neymar after his forearm made good connection with Luka Modric’s face. Also, Ivica Olic’s headed goal was ruled out by the ref for a soft foul on Brazil’s goalie Julio Cesar. The consensus is that given the anarchy that was already underway in Sao Paulo prior to the World Cup, that anarchy may have turned into an apocalypse if Brazil lost its first game.
2. Rafa Marquez Has to Stop Neymar
Mexico’s coach Miguel Herrera is having sleepless nights as he figures out ways to try to stop Neymar. The most likely plan will El Tri veteran Rafa Marquez sitting incredibly deep in the field trying to kick the sh*t out of the Brazilian wonder. That presents an obvious problem in that, the ref may be eager to send off a Mexico player, especially if anyone touches Neymar. If Mexico are finding it tough with eleven men, its task will be impossible with ten.
3. Mexico Can Win With Counter Attacks
Mexico has reasons to be hopeful. Its performance against Cameroon deserved more than a 1-0 victory. Players like Oribe Peralta and Marco Fabian are clearly capable of causing problems against a Brazilian defense that can best be described as “shaky.” There are question marks about whether or not Javier Hernandez will ever become more than the “super sub,” a tag he hates. He has talked in the media about wanting to start more games, the fact is that he needs to justify that talk by scoring more goals in tough games. Mexico Vs. Brazil in the World Cup seems like the perfect place for Chicharito to start.
4. Brazil Are the Bookies Favorites
Brazil is the heavy favorites with all betting sites. At Bet 365, the best odds you’re going is 4/11 for a Brazil victory. Mexico is a real outsider with odds of around 8/1 at most places with Coral going up to 10/1. A tie is going for 4/1 at Sky Bet.
5. Historically, Mexico Struggles Against Brazil
As with most teams, Mexico doesn’t have a good overall record against Brazil. In the 38 games the two countries have played, Brazil has won 38 times, Mexico 10 times with 6 ties. In terms of goals scored in the games, Brazil has outscored Mexico a shocking 71-36.