Five-time World Cup Winners Brazil go head to head with Mexico today to claim their spot in the quarter finals.
Brazil drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening game in this World Cup campaign followed by a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica. Last Wednesday they beat Serbia 2-0 which saw them finish top of Group E. Mexico on the other hand qualified for last 16 as runners up of Group F. Their opening match saw them win 1-0 over Germany followed by 2-1 victory over South Korea who incidentally beat Germany 2-0 last Wednesday. They were then thrashed against 3-0 by Group winners Sweden in their final game.
So, what can expect in today’s match? Brazil has won the World Cup five times, the last time in 2002. In the 2014 World Cup they finished 4th and their worst finish ever was 14th place back in 1934. Mexico’s best result in the World Cup is quarter final stages, the last time they reached this stage was back in 1984.
If Brazil go through today, this will be their seventh consecutive time reaching the last eight. Brazil’s star player Neymar has been very quiet during the campaign after fighting back for his place on the squad after a lengthy absence due to a foot injury. He played very well tactically against Serbia and Brazil coach Tite will be hoping for more of the same today. Overall Brazil’s campaign to date has been steady with moments of brilliance peppered through the games but with Mexico dangerous on the counter attack, Brazil may find themselves coming short at times. Brazil however, go into the match joint favourite with France at 7/1 to win this year’s World Cup.
Belgium v Japan, Kick Off 7pm
Belgium are the clear favourites to win against Japan this evening. The have three clean sheets from the Group G and finished in the top spot after beating Panama 3-0, followed by 5-2 victory over Tunisia before beating England 1-0 last Thursday. If Belgium win tonight, this will be their third World Cup quarter-final qualification. Belgian coach, Roberto Martinez left most of his first-choice players on the bench for the England match, so they could rest and avoid suspensions. Interestingly, several players on both teams start the game on yellow cards, which means should they receive a further caution in this game, they will miss the quarter final match regardless of who wins the match. Japan qualified for last 16 on a technicality, due to their superior fair play record to Senegal, who they finished level with on goals scored, goals conceded, and points acquired. Japan have a mammoth task on their hands to beat the Belgian side which includes Romelu Lukaku who has scored four goals in the tournament to date and his supporting trio Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens.