FIFA World Cup: Brazil vs Mexico preview

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil start their adventure in the knockout phase of the 2018 World Cup on Monday at Cosmos Arena in Samara against an opponent that they know very well: Mexico. The two teams have last met in a friendly match in 2015, which Brazil won 2-0. They have also clashed at the previous World Cup final tournament, in 2014, and that time Mexico secured a goalless draw which allowed both teams to qualify from the group stage. Mexico have not won a match against Brazil since a 2-0 friendly victory in 2012.

Brazil had a slow start at the 2018 World Cup, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland and then barely got past Costa Rica thanks to a pair of stoppage-time goals. The last group stage match, against Serbia, produced a better performance from Brazil, at least in the first half when Paulinho scored the go-ahead goal. Douglas Costa missed that match and he is still out of contention due to an injury, while Marcelo limped off during the first half and is a serious doubt ahead of Monday's match. Right-back Danilo is also an injury doubt for head coach Tite.

Mexico had a rampant start to their 2018 World Cup campaign as they defeated reigning world champions Germany 1-0, then they secured a 2-1 victory over South Korea but in the end can count themselves very lucky to have qualified. In the last group stage match they got hammered 3-0 by Sweden and only qualified because Germany were stunned by minnows South Korea. Hector Moreno picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the match against Sweden and is suspended for Monday's game.

Probable line-ups:

Brazil: Alisson - Fagner, T. Silva, Miranda, Marcelo - Paulinho, Casemiro, Coutinho - Willian, Jesus, Neymar

Mexico: Ochoa - Alvarez, Salcedo, Ayala, Gallardo - Herrera, Guardado - Layun, Vela, Lozano - Chicharito

My prediction: Brazil to win 2-0, Neymar and company are too strong for Mexico.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Brazil win - 1.50
Draw - 4.20
Mexico win - 8.00

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