Will Mexico Struggle to Dominate South Korea?
Mexico vs. South Korea, 11 a.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
- Mexico -144
- South Korea +479
- Draw +262
Bet to Watch
South Korea +.5 (+125)
Mexico announced their presence with authority in a 1-0 victory over Germany, one of the tournament’s favorites. But, in that match, they played as a counter-attacking side. They ceded most of the possession to Germany and then attacked the favorites with speed, taking advantage of a midfield constructed to have the ball rather than one built to stop attacks. Mexico picked an attacking trio of Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Carlos Vela specifically to exploit that weakness.
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It would be dangerous to read too much into Mexico’s victory, though. Manager Juan Carlos Osorio is an inveterate tinkerer and likes to change both personnel and tactics to exploit specific matchups against particular opponents. The fact that his plan against Germany worked doesn’t mean all that much when it comes to evaluating what will likely be a different plan and different personnel against South Korea.
In the lead up to the World Cup, Osorio started 12 different attackers across three friendlies. It’s entirely possible he will field a completely different attacking corps to take on South Korea than he did against Germany.
Mexico should expect to have lots of possession against a weaker South Korea side. They’re also a team that has recently struggled to turn extended stretches of possession into dangerous attacking opportunity. They have a reputation of playing down to their opponents because their ability to dominate a game has a nasty habit of not actually extending to scoring goals. South Korea’s defense is weak, but Mexico are not great at breaking down even mediocre sides that are committed to defending.
That’s even before factoring in that a draw wouldn’t hurt Mexico’s chances of qualifying much at all. A conservative, possession-based approach will serve Mexico well and leave the door open for the first 0-0 draw of the World Cup. Mexico’s win against Germany was a great result, but it shouldn’t make anybody too confident about them beating a weak South Korea side.