Mexico’s Counterattack Could Trouble World Cup Favorites Brazil

Jul 02, 2018, 12:00 AM EDT

Brazil vs. Mexico, 10 a.m. ET, Fox

  • Brazil -212
  • Mexico +639
  • Draw +345

Bet to Watch:

Mexico +639

Even though they won their group, it feels like we haven’t seen the best from Brazil yet. After a 1-1 draw with Switzerland, they dominated Costa Rica for 90 minutes before scoring twice in stoppage time. They then took care of business against Serbia. Even if they weren’t as good on the attack as we’d expect (they were fine), Brazil’s defense was stout in the group stages, allowing just one goal and just 1.8 expected goals over the three games.

Mexico got off to a raucous start in the World Cup with their 1-0 win over Germany. They consolidated that effort with a 2-1 win over South Korea. Then things came undone.

El Tri lost to Sweden, 3-0, in their final group match and almost cost themselves a place in the Round of 16. Had Korea not pulled off the shock of the tournament against Germany, Mexico would be out.

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Mexico are best suited to play a defend and counter style, and that’s why this match will not be a walkover for Brazil. El Tri’s best work came against Germany when they created chances in bunches off the counter. Brazil will keep the ball for most of the game, but Mexico will be lurking and waiting for their opportunity to spring Hirving Lozano or Miguel Layun on the counter.

With the constant threat of Mexico’s lightning counter, I think Brazil will tread carefully and they could have issues breaking through. I like this game to stay under 2.5 goals, but there’s a lot of value on backing Mexico to win here — especially with Brazil’s injury problems at fullback. At +639, the odds suggest Mexico have ~13.5% chance of winning this game. That’s low. It’s a bet you lose more often than you win, but if this match is played 100 times, does Mexico win 15 of them? I think there’s a good argument to be made that they do.

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Follow Michael J. Leboff on Twitter
@TheBigLeebowski

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