FIFA World Cup 2014: Scolari wary of Mexico threat

FIFA World Cup 2014: Scolari wary of Mexico threat

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari believes Mexico are good enough to cause his side plenty of problems when the two Group A leaders clash in Fortaleza.

Both teams won their respective opening fixtures and know that if they can maintain their 100 per cent records they will edge closer to securing places in the knockout stages of the competition.

Hosts Brazil kicked off the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Croatia but, having seen off Mexico in a FIFA Confederations Cup tie 12 months ago, Scolari expects a tougher examination of his stars heading into the fixture.

“Every time we play against Mexico we have difficulties,” he said.

“That is why it is a game the players know will be very even, they need to have very good conditioning from the beginning until the end.

“The two teams play football of very good quality, with the ball on the ground, lots of moving around.

“That’s why we will insist on all the necessary training, on the necessary respect towards Mexico.

“But we know a victory will put us in a highly comfortable position for the next round, so we’ll play with that in mind.”

Scolari also confirmed Zenit forward Hulk may miss the game with a hamstring problem, with Bernard on stand-by to replace him in the starting line-up.

Neymar may have picked up the man of the match award after scoring a brace in the comeback victory over Croatia but Chelsea’s Oscar was arguably the best player on the pitch and the 22-year-old echoed his manager’s comments about the challenge posed by Miguel Herrera’s Mexico.

“It will certainly be as difficult as last year,” he said.

“In the World Cup there is an extra desire to win and I hope we can do so again this time.

“Mexico are a very different side to Croatia.

“They play the ball out from the back well and are very good on the counter-attack.”

Brazil will play second today, with Belgium taking on Algeria in the first match.

The much fancied Europeans will kick off their Group H match at 17:00 BST at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

Mexico will be met by Brazil at 20:00 BST at Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, with Russia V Mexico following at 23:00 BST in Group H at Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba.