Group A: Favourites Brazil wary of Mexico challenge

June 17, 2014 - 2:06:45 pm
A combination of pictures shows (left) Brazil’s captain Thiago Silva in Sao Paulo on June 6, 2014 and Mexico’s defender and captain Rafael Marquez in Mexico city on May 28, 2014. RIGHT: Brazilian Neymar (right) and Marcelo take part in a training session at the squad’s Granja Comary training complex in Teresopolis, Brazil on Sunday.

SAO PAULO: World Cup favourites Brazil will be expected to defeat Mexico in the second round of Group A matches in Fortaleza today but their Latin neighbours have no reason to feel overawed.

The Mexicans have won big matches against Brazil before, beating them 4-3 in the final of the Confederations Cup in 1999 and more recently in the Olympic final in London.

Although that game was not a full international, the match featured several players expected to line up in Fortaleza including Neymar, Oscar and Thiago Silva for Brazil, and Oribe Peralta, the striker whose brace gave Mexico a 2-1 victory.

It gives Brazil pause for thought as they seek their 11th consecutive win.

“We know that Mexico are a good team, they always give Brazil a hard time and it won’t be any different when we play in the next match,” Oscar, one of the stars of the 3-1 opening day win over Croatia, said at the team’s base camp.

“Mexico are good coming forward and they are very fast on the counter attack,” the Chelsea midfielder said.

“The training we are going to do this week ahead of the Mexico game will be different from the training we did before facing Croatia,” he said before reiterating that Mexico were a tough side  as they face their second match.

  “Mexico play totally differently from Croatia,” he remarked .

Mexico will also be encouraged by a rain-sodden 1-0 win over Cameroon on Friday when they received fantastic support from their travelling fans.

The home side, however, have won 22 of the 38 previous encounters including the most recent match almost exactly a year ago in the same stadium in the Confederations Cup when Brazil romped home more comfortably than the 2-0 score-line suggests as the dominated the entire proceedings.

Both teams  and fans the world over - will also be watching the referee almost as closely as the players. Brazil were given a contentious penalty at a crucial moment of the Croatia match, prompting talk about home field bias.  And TV replays showed Mexico had two good goals disallowed before they finally got the winner in their opener against Cameroon.REUTERS