Brazil vs. Mexico: 1-on-1 Matchups That Will Decide Group-Stage Showdown

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 16:  Javier Hernandez of Mexico looks on during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Mexico and Italy at the Maracana Stadium on June 16, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Two world-class clubs who got off to very different starts at the 2013 Confederations Cup will square off Wednesday in a heated affair as Brazil takes on Mexico, and the match will come down to one-on-one showdowns. 

The host country is looking to continue to build off a young core of Neymar and Hulk that they hope will reap success at next year's World Cup. The Brazilians got off to a strong start in doing so, with a 3-0 opening-match victory over Japan.

Meanwhile, Mexico battled to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Italy and a game-winner from Mario Balotelli. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez notched the only goal for El Tri as the Italian defense stood tall and stifled a strong attack.

Brazil will advance to the semifinals with a win, while Mexico must at least draw in order to stay alive. 

Let's take a look at the one-on-one matchups that will decide Wednesday's Group A match.


Javier Hernandez vs. David Luiz

Mexico has been starved for goals lately, but that's not from the lack of effort from star striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. He's been all over the place as usual, and it'll be up to a stingy Brazilian defensive line to stop him.

That all starts with centre-back David Luiz, who outplays his 6'2" frame and uses his size well. 

The 26-year-old has become a staple in Brazil's back line and he'll be tasked with containing Chicharito on most of his scoring chances. The Mexico star is one of the most elusive players in world football, and it'll be a tall task for Luiz to stay in front of him for 90 minutes.

There's not really a conceivable way of Mexico winning without Hernandez playing at his best, and Luiz is just the guy to stop him if you're Brazil. The only question is speed, but Luiz has surprised with bursts of quickness at times. 

Both of these elite players will have their hands full with the other, and it'll be a showdown that will be the absolute biggest factor in Mexico's ability to find the net. 


Neymar vs. Hector Moreno

Neymar has a slightly dimmed down feel of Chicharito's value to his team. They can win without him playing at his best, but it's not likely.

The new Barcelona star has already made shock waves through the Confederations Cup with this 25-foot beauty of a volley against Japan, but he'll really make his mark with another scintillating performance against Mexico. 

But Mexico's defensive prowess cannot be ignored. Led by centre-back Hector Moreno, El Tri boast a strong core that doesn't take giving up goals too kindly. 

The Espanyol star defender has turned into the leader of Mexico's defense and at 25, he's just hitting his prime. 

Mexico has had their struggles on offense, but it's the defensive intensity that has kept them alive amidst the goals drought. They'll pride themselves on that even more so than usual against a dangerous Brazil attack.

Neymar will be all over the pitch and a number of Mexican defenders will be tasked with guarding him, but none more so than Moreno. And the way that battle ensues will go a long way in telling us who will prevail.


Giovani dos Santos vs. Marcelo

Mexican forward Giovani dos Santos has endured his fair share of heartache with recently relegated La Liga club RCD Mallorca, but he seems to always turn it on when he puts his green shirt on.

Dos Santos was off to his usual pesky ways again in their match against Italy, when he picked off the clumsy possession of Andrea Barzagli and was taken down in the box, setting up Chicharito's penalty shot that would end up being Mexico's only goal in the contest.

With Hernandez demanding so much attention as usual, dos Santos will be free to roam and pester Brazil's defenders again. One of those might be left back Marcelo.

The 25-year-old Real Madrid man takes his share of possessions down the field as an occasional winger, and you can bet dos Santos will be eyeing in on his takes as he looks to make more game-changing plays.

Just as well, Marcelo's ability to lock it down on defense and stifle dos Santos while he has the ball will end up being a telling factor in their ability to generate scoring chances.