Brazil v Mexico – Samba Soccer Means Goals
Brazil v Mexico
Brazil host Mexico in the second round of group games. Can one of these sides become the first to book their place in the knockout stages?
Brazil kicked off the 2014 World Cup in nervy style, but emerged as 3-1 victors over Croatia following a couple of dubious refereeing decisions. The pressure of the occasion appeared to get to Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men in the opening 30 minutes of the tournament, as an emotional signing of the national anthem was followed by the Croatians taking control of the primary exchanges.
Marcelo’s own goal on 11 minutes was with the run of play and the Croatians perhaps could have added more. But the game turned on a moment of individual brilliance from Neymar, who found the bottom corner of Stipe Pletikosa’s goal from 30 yards out on the half hour mark. Brazil then took control of the game and took the lead through a dubious penalty; Croatia would then have a goal of their own chalked off somewhat harshly before Brazil sealed the points with a late Oscar strike.
That first game was always going to be a nervy occasion for the hosts, and now that they’ve come through it unscathed they can look to push on.
There were also some poor refereeing decisions in Mexico’s opening 1-0 win against Cameroon, with El Tri having a couple of goals harshly disallowed. Had both strikes been allowed to stand and the game ended 3-0 then it would have been a much fairer reflection on Mexico’s dominance.
Oribe Peralta got the goal that ultimately gave Miguel Herrera’s men all three points and the clean sheet means that Mexico have now concede just five goals in their last eight games.
Oscar was preferred to Willian in Brazil’s opening game and following an impressive performance should retain his place in the starting XI. Hulk was a major disappointment, however, and the poor performance could cost him his place in the side. Jo would be a like-for-like replacement, while Ramires or Fernandinho offer a more defensive option should the manager look to tighten up his back line.
Javier Hernandez was left out of Mexico’s starting line-up but did impress when coming on as a substitute for the final 15 minutes. However, I expect Herrera will look to name an unchanged starting XI for this game.
Head to Head
Brazil won 2-0 when the sides met in last summer’s Confederations Cup, with Neymar scoring in the opening 10 minutes and Fred sealing the win in the 90th. Mexico had, however, won the previous meeting 2-0 thanks to goals from Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos, and the last six head-to-heads have been evenly shared with three wins apiece.
Much like last Thursday’s World Cup opener, I do expect Brazil to get the job done here, but not without being made to work hard and possibly with a few nervy moments along the way. The hosts are 1/3 to get the three points that would all but secure their place in the last 16, with Mexico at odds of 10/1 to get the win that would ensure their progression.
The half-time draw looks to be a decent punt again at odds of 7/5 and Draw/Brazil at odds of 14/5 in the HT/FT market is also a good bet.
I can see Mexico scoring at least once and that makes the 4/5 about Over 2.5 goals another sound investment.