For both Brazil and Mexico, Wednesday's meeting at the Confederations Cup is extremely important. But just how important?
Good question. While Brazil are in a strong position after winning their first game, Mexico will surely be desperate for a victory after losing to the Italians. Let's break down what this match means for both sides.
When: Wednesday, June 19 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, Brazil
What This Game Means For Brazil
For Brazil, a win would either put Brazil in an excellent position to advance to the group stage or guarantee that they will be moving on to the semifinals, if Italy either defeats or draws with Japan in the other Group A game.
Anything less than a win, however, and Brazil will be fighting for its tournament life with a game against a tough Italian side still to come.
Losing to Mexico would be a major opportunity squandered for Brazil. The Mexicans come into this match having won just one of their last six World Cup qualifying games and having drawn eight of their last 10 matches overall.
El Tri is not playing its best football, in other words.
As Brazil won't have another competitive match until the World Cup—only friendlies, since they automatically qualify for the World Cup as hosts—the Confederations Cup is a vital test for the Brazilians.
Don't expect the Brazilians to take the Mexicans lightly.
What This Game Means For Mexico
In a word, everything.
A win for Mexico would put them in an excellent position to advance, with a winnable game against Japan still to come. And while a draw wouldn't be ideal, Mexico would still have a shot to reach the semifinals.
But a loss would be potentially devastating. If El Tri lose this contest and Italy beat or draw against Japan on Wednesday evening, Mexico would be eliminated from the knockout phase. And while a loss and Japan win would keep them technically alive, El Tri wouldn't control their own destiny, needing a win against Japan, an Italy loss against Brazil and the advantage in goal differential over both teams.
Got all of that?
As noted above, Mexico has really struggled of late, and a strong performance in the Confederations Cup could be just what the team needs to reverse its recent World Cup qualifying woes. Mexico has just eight points from its first six Hexagonal games, and while they currently sit in third on the table, putting them in World Cup qualifying position, they have absolutely no room for error in their final four games.
What it all adds up to is a win being a very, very important result for Mexico today. A loss could have ripples that last long beyond the Confederations Cup.
Given how dangerous Brazil looked against Japan and how mediocre Mexico has been of late, look for Brazil to take this one, 2-1.