Group A: Brazil vs. Mexico

What’s at stake

Group A bragging rights and top spot are up for grabs, although Brazil has three goals in total compared to Mexico’s one going into this match.

Brazil and Mexico have played each other three times in previous World Cups, with Brazil winning all three matches without conceding a goal. Mexico wants to put a stop to that record.

By winning at home, Brazil continued the trend of hosts winning their respective opening matches. But, if anything, the pressure will ramp up as it gets deeper into the tournament.

Refereeing credibility took a knock in both earlier games — Brazil versus Croatia and Mexico against Cameroon — with disallowed goals by the bushel full.

Impact players

  • Brazil: Neymar. After getting booked with a yellow card, this young No. 10 scored two goals for the home side. Neymar’s star is getting brighter by the day.
  • Mexico: Giovani Dos Santos. This Mexican forward had two goals disallowed against Cameroon. And he was instrumental in the goal that counted. He’s on fire.

What to watch for

If you’re a Brazilian fan, going down 1-0 to Croatia after 11 minutes — to an own goal, granted — was a surprisingly poor start. Look for The Samba Boys to be much tighter from the opening whistle.

They scored three, but only one goal counted. Look for Mexico to strike hard and fast against Brazil.

Both of these teams proved they can explode out of tight situations, with fluid passing and lightning strikes.

Goalkeepers will earn their caps and World Cup bonuses in this match. TFC’s own Julio Cesar will need another great match. 

They said it

  • “The only thing we want is that Neymar is happy playing ball. He’s a special player,” Brazil manager Luiz Scolari told reporters after his team’s win over Croatia.
  • “We will go out to win the next game, we are more excited than ever. We will concentrate on what we have to do,” Miguel Herrara, manager of Mexico, told reporters in advance of the Brazil match.

The Big Number

58 — Brazil and Mexico both had 58 per cent possession in their respective opening matches.

Obligatory Fun Fact

Brazilians like things in twos. As Paul Carr of ESPN reports, Neymar’s double against Croatia means that Brazil has 32 two-goal games by an individual at the World Cup. No other country has more than 23 doubles.