Never beaten Italy in an official match, Mexico have to rely on their relatively young attacking talents to try and make their Confederations Cup experience a bit better than their World Cup qualifiers so far, while the Italians hope to outdo expectations for a second straight summer.
Mexico have only one win against Italy since the two first player each other in 1966, coming in a friendly match exactly three years ago in Brussels. When it comes to official matches, they last met in the 2002 World Cup, Mexico getting a 1-1 draw out of the Italian team.
It hasn’t been a smooth rides for both sides in their respective attempts to reach the World Cup. Mexico are only third in the fourth and final group round in the Concacaf region, winning only one match from their first six, drawing five of their matches. Four of them have been 0-0 (three at home), and they’ve scored only three goals in this stage so far, and have a very rough road ahead of them with away matches in Costa Rica and the United States, while playing at home against Panama and Honduras, both with a chance to go by them in the table.
For Italy, it’s hard to see them missing out on the world Cup. They’re first in a group that includes Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, holding a four point lead at the top of the group although as usual, their form has been a lot less than exciting, option for the more clinical approach to winning matches, even against nations like Malta.
And for this match? Mexico are in trouble, relying on an old defense and a weak midfield unit. The Italian might not be exciting in the way they play, but Mexico haven’t looked like a thrilling side in a very long time, and their best players, including Chicharito, haven’t been at their best form for quite some time.
Italy on the other hand present a midfield quality that should have no problem retaining possession and slowing the match down, relying on the talent of El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli up front to have their way with a slower and older Mexico defensive line.
Prediction – While 0-0 is not something that would surprise anyone from these two teams, Italy have a huge advantage in terms of quality, and their midfield power (four central midfielders in the 4-1-3-2) should be enough to push them over one of the weaker Mexico teams in recent years.