Brazil vs. Mexico: Each Team's Blueprint to Achieve Victory
Brazil and Mexico are entering Wednesday's key Confederations Cup meeting with complete opposite momentum.
In the first match of the tournament, the hosts completely dominated Japan, controlling 63 percent of the possession on their way to an enthralling 3-0 victory.
Who ya got?
El Tri, meanwhile, came away from their opener with Italy with zero points. The squads were equal in goals for most of the match, but the Italians, who outclassed Mexico for much of the battle, got a deserved winner from Mario Balotelli in the 78th minute to make it 2-1.
With zero draws so far and just three matches for each squad in the group, the implications for Wednesday's match are already massive.
A win for Brazil, and it's through to the semis. A loss for Mexico, and it is all but eliminated.
Let's take a look at what each team must do to obtain the much-needed victory.
Mexico: Attack, Attack, Attack
El Tri need to take it to Brazil.
They tried to play the cautious, defend-and-counterattack approach against Italy but ended up controlling just 41 percent of the possession and failing to create enough opportunities in their own half.
With a strikeforce that features as much talent as Javier Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos, you can't afford to lay back and wait for something happen. You have to take it to the opponent.
Moreover, Mexico needs to display some grit and toughness moving forward.
Dos Santos' performance against Italy was a prime example of how that can be beneficial. He constantly fought for the ball, and it eventually led to Mexico's only goal, which came from the penalty spot:
If Mexico sits back, Brazil has the talent to capitalize. But if El Tri push forward, press the issue and attack the ball, they can force Brazil—a less-disciplined team compared to Italy—into some costly mistakes.
Urgency will be the key.
Brazil: Feed Neymar
There's little question that Neymar will be the most talented player on the pitch on Wednesday.
He once again proved that with this wonder strike against Japan:
Who will be Brazil's most important player against Mexico?
Many question his work ethic and point toward his selfishness, but the new Barcelona forward is capable of doing some tantalizing things with the ball at his feet. Simply put, the more touches he gets, the more productive Brazil's attack.
Despite allowing two goals against Italy, Mexico has been strongest at the back recently. It has struggled to find a consistent attack but has still managed to produce draws because Jose de Jesus Corona has been world-class in goal, and the four in front of him have been stout.
If Brazil is going to break down that stingy defense, it will have to feed its best playmaker.
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