Scolari wary of Mexico threat

17 June 2014 07:47

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 on Tuesday.

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 knock-out stages of the competition.

Hosts Brazil kicked off the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Croatia but, having seen off Mexico in a 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."

Experienced captain Rafael Marquez knows that keeping Barcelona's Neymar quiet is a challenge, but one Mexico must achieve if they are to upset the odds and move to the head of the group with one game remaining.

"We have to cover, have two against one, be fast and reduce the spaces on the pitch and not let him (Neymar) play," he told Brazilian news station Globo.

"It was a good win (against Cameroon) and it was very important.

"Against Brazil, it will surely be a very difficult game. We know the talent of Neymar, Oscar, Hulk but we will train in ways to handle them.

"We have to make the most of this opportunity - it is a showcase for all of us. For many of them it is an opportunity to go up one more level."

Source: PA