Brazil wary but confident
Brazil want to use Mexico's desperation to their advantage when the teams meet in the Confederations Cup on Wednesday.
While Brazil opened with a convincing win over Japan, Mexico lost to Italy and need a good result against the hosts to keep alive their hopes of advancing in the World Cup warm-up tournament.
Brazilian players are hoping the Mexicans come out attacking to try for victory at the Arena Castelao, opening up spaces for Brazil to counterattack and move closer to securing a spot in the next round.
"I'm sure that Mexico will have to go for the victory and it will definitely be good for us," Brazil striker Hulk said on Tuesday. "We know that they are a team with a lot of quality, but hopefully we can take advantage that they are in a more difficult situation."
Another defeat will virtually eliminate the Mexicans from the eight-team tournament of continental champions. Mexico will play Japan in their final match in Group A.
Brazil, meanwhile, can virtually secure a spot in the semifinals if they win their second straight match in the World Cup warm-up competition. Brazil's final match is against Italy.
"It's our obligation to win this match because we know it would make it easier for us to advance," Brazil defender David Luiz said. "Everybody knows that the final group match against Italy will be more difficult because it's a team with four world titles and with a lot of experienced players. That means that this match against Mexico is really important."
The Brazilians acknowledge that it won't be an easy task getting past a Mexican team which has done well against Brazil recently. Mexico have won seven of the last 14 matches against the five-time world champions, including two of the last three. The last match was an especially disappointing loss at the London Olympics final last year, when Brazil were trying to win their first gold medal in football.
Eight Mexicans from this Confederations Cup squad were in that Olympic team, including Giovani dos Santos. Six Brazilians are back with the Selecao, including Neymar, Oscar, Thiago Silva and Hulk.
"That was a very tough loss for us because everybody in Brazil was hopeful that we would finally win the gold medal," Hulk said. "But we also beat them recently when we played with the senior team, and that was a difficult victory because we played a man down for most of the match, so we are optimistic."
Brazil beat Mexico 2-1 in a friendly in 2011 in Mexico, but lost 2-0 in another exhibition match last year in Dallas. The Mexicans won the last two Confederations Cup matches against Brazil, in the 1999 final in Mexico and in the 2005 group stage in Germany.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he is not too worried about Brazil's recent disappointments against the Mexicans.
"Mexico has been a challenging team for Brazil recently," he said. "But all we can do is worry about tomorrow's (Wednesday's) match. It's an important one for us because it can give us a spot in the next round."
Scolari, who is back with the national team after leading Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, said he expects Mexico to play differently than Japan did in the opener on Saturday, when Brazil cruised to a 3-0 victory in Brasilia.
"Their style is very different than what we saw against Japan," Scolari said. "They play differently and we will need to be very careful against them."