What To Expect From Mexico vs. Brazil

What to expect from Mexico vs. Brazil

Photo Courtesy of the Official Seleccion Nacional de Mexico Facebook Page

After a very positive and impressive display in their 2014 World Cup opener against Cameroon which saw Mexico win 1-0, they will entering their second group stage game feeling good about their play and effort to date. Given that Mexico will be taking on tournament host and a tournament favorite in Brazil, having won the opener can only serve as a positive when game planning the game Tuesday in Fortaleza. With this in mind, what can we expect from Mexico on Tuesday afternoon?

For starters, expect to see the same starting eleven which stepped onto the field against Cameroon on Friday and with good reason as that starting lineup played well. In Spanish, there is a saying related to soccer which says equipo que gana no se toca. This loosely translates into a winning team is best left untouched and in particular one that looked as good as Mexico did against Cameroon. So if not the starting lineup, what can and Mexico might do differently against Brazil when compared to what they did against Cameroon?

The answer to this question will most likely lie in what Mexico coach Miguel Herrera decides to do tactically. While some might think that because Herrera will employ his preferred 5-3-2 formation that this means Mexico will look to be the aggressor again versus Brazil. Given that Mexico are playing Brazil, a team with a few more players who can hurt Mexico in attack, the same idea of pressing like they did against Cameroon is an unlikely strategy. Instead, we should probably expect to see a Mexico team who strategy wise focuses on making sure that the wing backs are not as “aggressive”.

As evidenced in the game against Cameroon, Mexico’s wing backs, Miguel Layun on the left and Paul Aguilar on the right were able to make numerous runs down their respective flanks without worrying too much about leaving the three central defenders exposed on potential counters. Needless to say against Brazil on Tuesday afternoon, they both will not be able to make such runs on a regular basis. So then, how does Mexico make sure to maintain the effectiveness that a wing back an give in attack while taking the necessary precautions against Brazil’s attack on defense?

Without Miguel Herrera telling anyone how he will structure his teams gameplan, one can assume that Mexico will be defending with less space between the three central defenders and the two wing backs. Clearly ensuring that there is proper cover to mark Neymar and Oscar is in order for Mexico. But if Mexico defend a little bit more tightly than usual with the wing backs, does this is mean Mexico will lose that edge they displayed in attack against Cameroon?

Chances are that this means one of the wing backs will more than likely stay back while the other one jumps into and supports any attacking adventures when Mexico attack the Brazil goal. In all likelihood, Miguel Layun is the wing back most apt to stay back given he is better at reading and recognizing when to stay back. Clearly such a potential tactical change is meant to neutralize the best aspects of Brazil’s attack. Yet it should not be misconstrued as Mexico renouncing any potential attacking threats because as Croatia demonstrated, the Brazilian defense can be tested stretched if done so with numbers and exploiting space that Marcelo and or Dani Alves are apt to leave exposed.

Lucas Carreras is a contributing Mexican National Team and Liga MX writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan.



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