Mexico will be hoping to put the disappointment of their final group stage match thrashing behind them on Monday when they face Brazil in the World Cup round of 16 clash at Cosmos Arena in Samara.

Meanwhile this game sees two of the world’s most football-obsessed countries meet but it is only really Brazil that has managed to turn passion for the game into genuine success at a global level.

Mexico are last 16 regulars but they’ve not reached the quarter-finals since they hosted the tournament way back in 1986.

Banned in 1990, the Mexicans have exited at this stage at every World Cup since and it’s fair to say the omens aren’t good for them causing an upset.

They did just that in their first game of this World Cup by humbling Germany and they built on that by seeing off South Korea in their next game.

However a 3-0 defeat to Sweden in their last group fixture came almost totally out of the blue and it surely have damaged the morale in the Mexican camp.

Mexico would have dearly loved to have avoided Brazil but if they can get back to the high intensity and at times high quality that they found in their first fixture, they can certainly cause problems for the South American giants.

Brazil haven’t fully convinced but nor did they ever really look in severe danger of not progressing from their group. Unlike some of the other favourites, they are yet to trail at this tournament and were slightly more convincing in their last game, a 2-0 win over Serbia.

Mexico showed against the Germans that they play with no fear and won’t simply park the bus against elite opposition.

Their approach in that game was refreshing to see and the likes of Miguel Layun and Hirving Lozano have impressed out wide while with Chicharito up top, they have a predator that may only need one chance to score a goal.

Mexico will get opportunities in this game and despite a strong defensive record in qualifying, Brazil did give their opponents opportunities in all of their group games.

The Mexicans have a bit more about them in the final third than those sides so it’s certainly very plausible that they have a chance to find the back of the net.

However Brazil have more quality overall and should enjoy the lion-share of the chances. Philippe Coutinho has been one of the stars of the tournament so far while Neymar is also due a big game.

Up against a Mexico defence that was opened up by Sweden, Brazil should have all the tools needed to be a regular threat going forward.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s last two tournaments of any real significance have seen them exit at the first knock-out stage with 7-0 and 4-1 defeats in Copa America and the Confederations Cup respectively.

So they clearly have issues when it comes to knock-out stages and facing the five-time winners will surely make it a difficult task to go one better.


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Saturday, January 19, 2019
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