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World Cup: Brazil vs Mexico Match Review

Brazil and Mexico's second match in the World Cup was a good one, but only for soccer fans, and Mexico. Brazil left the game with a lot of concerns, mistakes and bad news for the next games, as the team almost didn't survive a not good performance from Neymar

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


With Hulk injured in Brazil's first game against Croatia, Big Phil Scolari had some decisions to make. He could keep the team's quick wing-attacking structure with Bernard or Willian, or he could strengthen the middle by having Hernanes, which would help the creation and free up Oscar and Neymar to do their thing. None of that. Scolari opted for Ramires, a "somewhere in the middle" kind of guy, who could do the Hernanes job well, while still having speed and ability to emulate Hulk on the wing, when needed.

The match started with a nice pace. Both teams came to play, and attack, and try a lot. Brazil started better, moving the ball from side to side, creating chances and keeping possession during the first 15 minutes. After this initial pressure, the home team stopped moving the ball, and it got stuck too much on the CB's feet. Then, it directly went to Neymar, and then there was just hope that he would come up with something great. He couldn't, as he was well-defended and wasn't in his best days. The dribbles were there, but they happened far away from the goal, so that only drew fouls. And there were a lot of hard fouls in the first half, from both sides.

From the 25th minute on, Brazil started to have problems. The midfield totally disappeared, as Paulinho and Ramires stopped both defending and attacking. They just stayed there, doing something not actually related to soccer. Oscar didn't repeat the sensational game he had against Croatia, and pretty much missed everything he tried. Fred didn't play. Don't let anybody try to convince you of the opposite.

Mexico, on the other hand, played the perfect way against Brazil's weaknesses. They knew what to do, and they stuck to the gameplan, which consisted of attacking Dani Alves and Marcelo at both wings, swinging the ball back to the middle, and striking from waaaaaaaaaay outside of the box. Since the middle was difficult to penetrate, -- due to the almost perfect performances from Thiago Silva, David Luiz, and Luis Gustavo -- the correct thing to do was try from outside. And they did it. And they had the best opportunities of the half, with Hector Herrera as their best player.


Big Phil saw that things were not working like they supposed to, so he made an immediate change. Paulinho was a mess, and the most logical substitution to make was put Willian in for him, and stick Ramires to the central midfield with Gustavo. Again, Scolari didn't do anything as expected, and subbed Bernard in for Ramires, kept Paulinho on the pitch and brought the team back to the original formation.

The problem with this was that Oscar was having a horrible game, so there were zero creation. If Willian had entered, that problem could have been solved, plus Willian could attack on the wing and defend. With Bernard, Brazil completely lost the middle, he did not defend, and his offensive contributions were minimum. The Seleção couldn't complete three passes, and the ball quckly went back to the Mexicans.

And El Trí did what they started to do at the end of the first half, and then some. A lot of shots outside of the box, and all of them were dangerous. Mexico had freedom to do it for as long as they wanted, as Brazil could not retain possession long enough, and the struggles continued for the entire half. The Paulinho Disaster got worse and worse as time went on, but he stayed on the field, somehow.

Brazil needed change. The midfield was lost, and creation was necessary. What does Scolari do? He puts Jô! J-Ô! We saw Fred for the first time, as he was subbed off. Jô, as expected, didn't add anything special, and he missed his only chance in the game. Somehow, his presence brought Brazil back together a bit. The team started passing the ball around more, tried to get it to Neymar, but had patience to keep possession while trying to find something. But that happened just after the 75th minute. It was a little too late, and the team was stumbling on its own mistakes.

At the end of the game, Mexico had some more chances, and Júlio César had to make saves to keep the score 0-0. The tie keeps both teams at the top of Group A, both with four points. Croatia and Cameroon will play for their lives on Wednesday.


About Guillermo Ochoa, you are as insane as his performance. Memo was incredible, with highlight reel save after highlight reel save. The first one -- and perhaps the most spectacular one -- happened at the first half, when Neymar executed a masterful header, and Ochoa pulled off a save that immediately made everyone remember the best save in history by England goalie Gordon Banks in a Pelé header at the 1970 World Cup.

Although Brazil didn't play well, they still created the most clear opportunites, and they left the game with a tie mainly because of Memo Ochoa's historical performance. It made everybody go speechless.


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