Brazil vs. Mexico: 2014 FIFA World Cup | Group A Match Preview
The two teams atop Group A face off in a game that could prove decisive in one or both teams' chances of advancing to the knockout stage. After opening-game wins, each side has reason for optimism coming into this particular match.
ONE DOWN, SIX TO GO: Brazil took care of business in their first game of the tournament, a 3-1 win over Croatia, but that score doesn't tell the story of the game itself, in which the European team gave the tournament hosts considerable issues before a dubious penalty drawn by Fred put Brazil ahead for good. Brazil will look to improve on that performance against El Tri, especially considering their high hopes to win it all.
WILL MEXICO HAVE BRAZIL'S NUMBER AGAIN? Of all the teams in the tournament, Mexico may be the country that has given Brazil the biggest problems over the past several years. The biggest came in 2012 when Mexico beat Brazil in the Olympic final, the only notable tournament the Brazilians have never won. But Mexico have also won seven times in the last 13 tries on the senior level. Of course, Brazil won the last matchup, a convincing 2-0 win in last year's Confederations Cup, so maybe their luck has changed.
HULK HOBBLED: New injury concerns cropped up for Brazil on Sunday when forward Hulk pulled up in training with an apparent muscle injury, putting his availability in doubt for Tuesday's game. Though the striker insisted he will be in good shape, his injury issues could force Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari to shuffle his lineup.
THE STAR YOU KNOW:
- Giovani dos Santos, forward, Mexico -- He was man of the match for Mexico against Cameroon (seen below setting up a prime chance in El Tri's opener), but the knock on Gio throughout his career has been his consistency. Can he follow up one excellent game with an even bigger performance, against his father's homeland, no less?
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU:
- Paulinho, midfielder, Brazil -- Highly touted as a midfielder adept at both putting in strong challenges as well as popping up in the box to score timely goals, he's struggled to live up to expectations since moving to Tottenham Hotspur last season. If the brighter lights struggle to get on the scoresheet, Paulinho could be the player to grab the spotlight, and the points, for Brazil.