Although recent encounters between the teams show otherwise, the initial matches for both Brazil and Mexico in the 2013 Confederations Cup point point to the home side being very big favorites beginning the second round of matches in the competition.
And still, 14 players who featured on both sides in the London Olympics last year, a gold-medal match won by Mexico 2-1, will be available to play in Frotaleza. Mexico also won the previous encounter between the senior sides (2-0) a year ago in Texas.
But leaving confidence aside, the way Mexico looked against Italy doesn’t leave a lot of room for hope. There was no midfield play, and the only good things to come from anyone where creative, isolated plays by Giovani Dos Santos and Andres Guardado, while Chicharito didn’t do anything except for scoring his penalty kick.
Brazil didn’t have a perfect match in their 3-0 win over Japan, but the opener was bound to be tense for them, and Mexico do not defend and play in a compact way like the Japanese do, which means there might be a little bit more freedom for Oscar, Hulk and Neymar as they roam behind Fred, hoping to seize the opportunities in front of them.
The pressure is also on Mexico to play a little bit more positive than they did against Italy. While a match against Brazil isn’t usually the best way to get points, after the loss to Italy in the opening match Mexico can’t afford to drop anymore, and playing for a 0-0 against a much more talented Brazilian side, while Mexico’s defense is quite far from elite, isn’t going to get the job done.
For Brazil, questioned might be asked regarding the use of Fred up front, especially after Jo scored during his cameo appearance, while there are many pushing to see a team play without a natural striker on the pitch, meaning Neymar or Hulk playing as the front-man, more or less, although Scolari isn’t likely to let that happen.
Predictions – While Mexico usually give Brazil quite a lot of trouble in their encounters, including winning in their last two Confederations Cup encounters (1999, 2005), it’s hard to look past the home side, which will be boasting a lot of confidence and probably feeling a little bit more relaxed in their second match, ready to win with some style on top of the substance.