17 Nov

World Cup 2018: Brazil rely on Neymar, Coutinho vs unpredictable Mexico

first_imgBrazil will hope their quadrat of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Willian arrive in some fashion at the FIFA World Cup 2018 when they face the counter-attacking threat of Mexico at the Samara Arena on Monday.Coutinho and Tite’s tactics have been the shining light for Brazil in what has been an underwhelming performance otherwise. However, if their match against Serbia is anything to go by, Brazil are getting better by the day.After their 1-1 draw against Switzerland, where they dazzled in the first half only to lose that spark in the second half, Brazil registered a fighting 2-0 win over Costa Rica.Even as the 2-0 scoreline sounds comfortable, it was far from it. Two goals in the stoppage time was what Brazil required to get past Costa Rica.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEIn the final group game though, Neymar and Willian stepped up their game, looked much sharper and better as Brazil book their last 16 spot with a comfortable win.Neymar’s PSG teammates Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani have set the Round of 16 to fire with their sensational performances and Brazil captain Thiago Silva is hoping that it rubs off on Neymar too.”We hope tomorrow will be a great day and that Neymar is inspired as much as the other players,” said Silva, who also plays for Paris Saint-Germain.Neymar drew concern early in the tournament because of what appeared to be a right ankle injury following Brazil’s opener. He was fouled 10 times during the match and later was seen limping after practice before the team’s second match against Costa Rica, but the team said it was only a precaution.advertisementThe Brazilian soccer confederation has said Neymar’s ankle problem had nothing to do with the foot injury that sidelined him for about three months earlier this year. Brazil coach Tite said before the tournament started that Neymar wouldn’t likely be fully fit until the third match of the group stage. It’s now time for the knockout rounds.”He’s resumed his top performance,” Tite said.”The idea is that things are going to improve. This is the fourth match. I think this team is well prepared,” Silva said Sunday. “We have to face this match with a lot of focus and a lot of determination. I think the coach has given us the tools.”Brazil, who have won five World Cup titles, have advanced out of the group stage in the last 13 tournaments. The team has made the quarter-finals six straight times.The last time that Brazil lost in the round of 16 was back in 1990, a 1-0 loss to Argentina in Italy.MEXICO LOOK FOR ANOTHER PIECE OF HISTORY FIFA World Cup 2018: Mexico are eyeing their first quarter-final since 1986. (Reuters Photo)Mexico have already made history in Russia, beating defending champion Germany 1-0 in the group opener. It was Mexico’s first victory over the Germans in a competitive match – and first in any game since 1985. The loss would later figure in Germany’s elimination in Russia.A victory over Brazil would give Mexico their first knockout-round victory since 1986. Mexico have put their focus on the “quinto partido,” or fifth game, which means the fifth game (quarter-finals).Four years ago in Brazil, the teams played to a scoreless draw in their group. Brazil had won the three previous World Cup meetings over Mexico.Mexico’s last victory over Brazil came in 2012 in a friendly match at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. El Tri memorably won the match 2-0 before a crowd of more than 84,000 fans.Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was asked about whether the team was concerned about Neymar’s reputation earlier in the tournament – deserved or not – for flopping. There was a lot of chatter on social media about Neymar’s alleged diving, and a pub back home in Brazil even offered free drinks each time he fell against Serbia.”I will not discriminate or criticize someone,” Osorio said. “He is a great player, and tomorrow the referee will be in charge. I hope it’s a fair game.”INJURY AND SUSPENSIONS FIFA World Cup 2018: Marcelo will not be available for Brazil vs Mexico due to back injury. (Reuters Photo)Mexico will be without defender Hector Moreno because of yellow card accumulation, while Brazil could be missing several players because of a spate of injuries.Tite has confirmed that Danilo, who suffered a hip injury, was available for the match against Mexico but Marcelo will not be.Marcelo had a back injury sustained against Serbia.”We are not going to pay the price with health,” Tite said.advertisementWinger Douglas Costa, who plays for Juventus, continues to recover from a right thigh injury he sustained in the group stage and will not play against Mexico. But he could return if the team advances to the quarterfinals.(With AP inputs)last_img

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