Brazil and Mexico clash on Monday at the Samara Arena in Round of 16 action at the soccer world cup.
It’s the battle of the Americas as the best in the South meets the best in the North. Brazil reached the knockout phases by topping Group E, beating the likes of Serbia and Costa Rica, while Mexico already know what it feels like to win as underdogs, humbling Germany to a 1-0 defeat in Group F.
The Brazilians will be gunning for their sixth star on top of their crest, but they cannot do it if the likes of Neymar and co. do not come to the party.
FIFA World Cup – Last 16 | Monday 2 July | Samara Arena | 16:00
To win Match (90 Mins)
Tournament-favourites, Brazil, face tricky opposition in the form of Mexico. By no means will this be an easy task, but the five-time winners can almost expect to dominate proceedings and book their place in the last eight.
Despite topping their group, Brazil didn’t have it easy, finishing above Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica. What has been different to Brazil teams of old, is that they’re much more focused on not conceding, while still fully backing themselves to score more than the opposition.
In the three games played so far, Alisson Becker has conceded just once, a goal that some would say should not have stood when Steven Zuber headed home an equalizer for Switzerland from close range.
As expected, the onus has been on Neymar since the start of the tournament, but Philippe Coutinho has been, by far, Brazil’s standout player. The Barcelona playmaker has been involved in a goal in each game so far, netting the opener against Switzerland and Costa Rica, before assisting Paulinho’s goal against Serbia.
If Coutinho is in the mood, it could be an embarrassing day out in Samara for Mexico. You can’t say they haven’t been warned.
Mexico face Brazil as massive underdogs, but it’s not an unfamiliar position to be in for Juan Carlos Osorio’s men. The North Americans started the tournament like a house on fire, beating Germany 1-0 in their opener, before putting two past South Korea in their second Group F clash, to claim a 2-1 victory over the Asians.
That proved to be enough as Mexico, despite going down 3-0 to Sweden, came through their group as runners-up. What has been the most enjoyable thing about the Mexicans so far is their no-fear approach in each game, no matter who the opponents might be.
Hirving Lozano has taken the soccer world cup by storm, and with proven talents in Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez around him, Mexico will be no pushovers. They’ve already put Germany to the sword, but this will certainly be their toughest test yet.
Verdict: Brazil 5/10
Brazil have looked rock-solid in defence, and despite losing Marcelo in their last game, Tite’s side are almost equally as good with Filipe Luis in the team. They’ve got the perfect shield in front of the back four in Paulinho and Casemiro, while you can never doubt the attacking prowess of Coutinho and Neymar. At 5/10, my money will be on Brazil to get the job done in 90 minutes.