FIFA WORLD CUP 2018

FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – Brazil vs Mexico PREVIEW



Favourites Brazil are back in action for their first knockout game in this tournament and they’ll face the high flying Mexicans. Both sides have been impressive so far in this tournament, playing good attacking football and have been entertaining us. Brazil are coming into this game as massive favourites, however Mexico have already beaten on big gun in Germany, could they do it to Brazil too?


BRAZIL


So far Brazil have gotten better as the tournament has gone on. They topped the group involving Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. They had to deal with pressure already during the tournament which they’ve dealt with really well winning one of the games in the last min while surviving elimination already too. In the first game Brazil drew 1-1 with Switzerland. You’d have to say that was the only blip of the tournament so far, they started off well but then kind of fell off and as soon as the Swiss equalised Brazil created chances but couldn’t convert. In the second game they beat Costa Rica 2-0. Brazil played a good game, but once again their chance conversion was poor, it too all the way until the 91st minute to break down Costa Rica. That game showed that Brazil have a very good character because it was a game they needed to win and after all that frustration they eventually broke their opponent down. In the final game Brazil still needed a result because had they lost they’d have been eliminated. They beat Serbia 2-0 in what was their best performance, they dominated the game pretty much throughout the whole apart from a 10 minute stretch where Serbia were coming on with a wave of attacks trying to get back in it but eventually Brazil put them away with a goal by Thiago Silva and once they took the 2-0 lead they turned it into a spectacle and could’ve easily made it 4-5. Brazil have always been on the front foot in every game having to break down teams that liked to sit back. They created a lot of chances, but the conversion hasn’t been at its best yet. Standout players so far have been Coutinho and Thiago Silva. Coutinho has been the best player for Brazil overall, contributed to at least one goal in every game while Thiago Silva has been a rock in defence alongside Miranda. Casemiro and Paulinho have been very solid in midfield and their full backs Marcelo and Fagner have looked good, Fagner did a good job to slot in that RB position for injured Alves and Danilo. Neymar has had an up and down world cup, he’s been hacked a lot, hasn’t had much luck with converting chances, only one goal but you could still say he’s regaining form and now that knockouts are here we may see the best of Neymar. Jesus and Willian could perform better too because Firmino and Costa will be looking at those starting spots soon. Overall Brazil have had more strengths than weaknesses and will be confident they can the whole thing.


MEXICO


It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for Mexico. They started the campaign with 2 wins and then lost the third game and they were a Germany win against Korea away from being eliminated, but a bit of luck followed. Mexico started their campaign with a 1-0 win over world champions Germany, it was their best performance, they were absolutely amazing hitting Germany with deadly counter attacks from which actually came their goal. They then held Germany off and picked up their biggest win in years. In the second game Mexico looked a little sloppier, they beat Korea 2-1 but couldn’t create as much. However, Mexico did get away with 2 deadly counters from which was won a penalty and they’ve scored a goal from the other. Mexico took the 2-0 lead and held Korea off conceding a stunning goal but holding on to a win. In the final game, Mexico were terrible. They lost 3-0 to Sweden, they were very shaky at the back, didn’t create many chances and that loss could’ve got them eliminated although they won the first two games. However, Mexico got a little luck going their way because Germany lost 2-0 to South Korea which kept Mexico in the world cup. It’s crazy how quickly Mexico went from playing fantastic and pretty much safe to being moments away from elimination because of one bad result. Counter attacking football has been Mexico’s biggest strength with Lozano and Vela playing very well especially. However, defensively they’ve been awful, their back line has gotten worse game by game and it’s a worrying sight because they have to face the mighty Brazil and not only their backline has looked suspect, but one of their main CB’s Moreno is suspended while the other Ayala might still be out. Mexico could’ve easily conceded more goals if not for Ochoa who has saved them against Germany and Korea especially. Mexico can’t afford to defend the way they have against Sweden because they’ll get carved open. Overall, they’ve been an entertaining side and will be a threat to Brazil even with the poor backline. This is Mexico’s 7th straight R16 match, losing the previous 6 so they’ll be hopin


Keys/Tactics


Brazil will be on the front foot in this game. Expect Brazilians to dominate possession and create the most chances, however we can also expect Mexico to use their rapid counter attacks to punish Brazil. Counter attacks have been Mexico’s biggest strength and they know that its how they have to play because if they committed bodies forward, Brazil would have a field day. Brazil will have to wary of counter attacks, especially when their full backs Marcelo and Fagner commit which is where the holding midfielders in Casemiro and Paulinho and two centre backs Silva and Miranda come in. Brazil have done a good job constructing a side where they have enough protection to allow full backs to bomb forward and it won’t be easy for Mexico to break out like they did against Germany or Korea, especially given the fact that Brazilian players are quick too.  As for Mexico, their defence have to do better. They’re obviously limited at centre back position with the main ones being injured and suspended so Salcedo and possibly the 39 year old Marquez could be their CB pairing and that is going to be very suspect against Brazilian world class attackers. Expect Brazil to keep Fagner starting at RB, Willian should keep his position for the injured Costa while Jesus will probably still start over Firmino but that could change. Keys for Brazil is to expose every weakness in that Mexican defence and don’t allow them to get away with dangerous counters whereas for Mexico they must be organised and switched on at all times at the back while going forward Lozano, Vela, Chicharito and Layun must all play to their full capabilities.


Prediction


Mexico’s defence is simply too suspect to give them this win. We believe that Brazil will come through as the winners. The way this tournament has gone on, Brazil have gotten better whereas Mexico have gotten worse game by game. Brazil’s attack is too lethal, Neymar is picking up form, Coutinho is playing immensely, Willian and Jesus are very dangerous. Mexico will miss Moreno and Ayala at the back, they have already struggled without Ayala, and now if you take Moreno out it only gets worse. Brazil have a very organised side which is where we think they’ll snuff Mexico’s counters out. All around, Brazil are just simply better, they’re more dangerous going forward and a much more organised side. Expect Neymar to have a breakout game and Brazil to win 4-1.




ODDS – Decimal


Brazil Win (90 mins) – 1.50


Draw (90 mins) – 4.20


Mexico Win (90 mins) – 8.00




To Qualify – Brazil 1.22 – Mexico 4.00



KICK OFF – 2nd July 2018 – 3pm UK Time