Group E winners Brazil came through the opening phase with two wins and a draw, and will now face Mexico in the Round of 16. The North Americans hit their headlines for their thoroughly deserved 1-0 win against World Champions Germany in the first set of matches and won’t be overawed by the occasion against the favourites for the competition.
Where and when: Cosmos Arena, Samara – 2 July, kick-off 15:00
Where you can see Brazil vs. Mexico: BBC
Last time: First-half goals from Philippe Coutinho and Diego Tardelli settled the contest when the nations last met in non-competitive action back in June 2015.
|Mexico to win on penalties||14/1||Offer|
|Firmino to score last||4/1||Offer|
Brazil v Mexico Predictions and Preview
Five time champions of the World Brazil enter the knockout phase in reasonable form. The Seleção have by no means been vintage, and have toiled for long periods, particularly in the game against Costa Rica and large parts of the Switzerland opener, and the expectation now will be Tite’s men will come to the party. Defensively, Brazil have only shipped one goal with Thiago Silva and Miranda offering a solid bedrock with Casemiro just in front. Further forward, talisman Neymar has yet to hit top form and if the Seleção are to win football’s greatest prize for a sixth time, the €222 million hotshot must raise his game.
Fortunately, compatriot Coutinho has got the Samba boys over the line with crucial goals and the assist for Paulinho’s goal versus Serbia. The Barcelona playmaker is flourishing as part of a midfield three and is 7/1 to open the scoring and bag his second effort of the tournament. The South Americans are 2/9 to reach the Quarter-Final while a third successive clean sheet is available at 5/6.
Elsewhere, opponents Mexico come in to the encounter fresh off a 3-0 hammering from Sweden. El Tri had racked up six points from the previous two fixtures and the manner of the defeat against a renowned conservative nation in Sweden should serve as a warning to Juan Carlos Osorio. The Mexico boss needs a similar performance to the emphatic showing against Germany if his squad are to progress and El Tri are currently available at 10/3 to pull off another shock result.
One to watch for Brazil: Neymar at 4/1 to net anytime. The PSG attacker is simply too good to be contained throughout the whole 90 minutes and space should appear for him if Mexico are chasing the game.
One to watch for Mexico: El Tri’s all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez. The West Ham fox in the box is a different player for his country and will be a real nuisance for the Brazil rearguard. Hernandez is 15/2 in the same market.
Long shot: The showdown between the two nations will be the second World Cup duel in succession, after the goalless draw four years ago in Brazil. This time around, a stodgy stalemate will not be enough for The Seleção who owe it to their supporters to put in a performance befitting their ability and they are priced at 103/4 to win 4-1.