Brazil was lucky to win its opener, shaking the confidence of some fans but not the opinion of oddsmakers who have them as huge favorites Tuesday against Mexico.
First place in Group A and a berth in the round of 16 goes to the winner on a day when Group H teams see their first action.
Mexico won their opening group match against Cameroon but sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com have host Brazil at 4-13 odds with Mexico as low as 7-1 and as high as 9-1. The draw line, which could be good value here, was roughly 5-1.
In the last 15 years, Mexico has beaten Brazil six times with the most recent win in the finals of the 2012 Olympics. So there is plenty of historical precedent to suggest the Mexicans can win.
And Brazil was very fortunate with a couple of dubious calls that led to two goals while Mexico had two disallowed goals in their win. Will Brazil shake off the first-game jitters and hide their stride or are they in danger here?
Brazil came out a little lifeless in their opening match against Croatia and it cost them conceding a goal in the first half. They did come back to win, but they may have to thank the referee for that.
Midfield play will be key in this match for both squads and Oscar was solid in the win over Croatia. Brazil will look to dominate the time of possession and organize attack down the flanks.
Neymar scored two goals in the Croatia match and he is the player the Mexican defense has to key on. While Mexico did keep a clean sheet in their World Cup opener facing Cameroon, their defense has issues and Brazil has ample skill to exploit them.
Brazil gave up an own goal against Croatia, but the Croats did have their chances. Brazil has a solid defense led by Dani Alves.
Mexico striker Oribe Peralta, who scored in the Cameroon match, has to lead an offense which will need to exploit counter-attacking opportunities. Brazil can get caught forward since they hold the ball so much.
Elsewhere, Group H favorites Belgium open against Algeria and Russia is favored against a wily South Korea team.
Mexico vs. Brazil Prediction: 2-2 draw
Mexico has had their success against Brazil in the last decade and a half and that will continue. They will not take three points, but they will play well on defense and come away from this match with a draw.
Stats, odds courtesy of Odds Shark and World Cup Odds.
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