We shouldn’t be getting too carried away – after all, it was only a routine home victory against Japan. But nonetheless, there were signs in the Brazil performance on Saturday that will encourage former Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari and his side look like they will have too much for Mexico in their next Confederations Cup Group A match – even up against in-form Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.
The tournament hosts played their first competitive match for 23 months at the weekend but there was little sign of rustiness as the Samba Boys got their campaign off to a flying start.
Neymar’s wonder goal after just three minutes set the tone for an easy 3-0 win and there was plenty about Brazil’s performance that hinted that Scolari’s young group, with much to prove ahead of next year’s World Cup in their home country, could yet be moulded into the team that the locals expect in 12 months’ time.
And it is no surprise to see Brazil such strong favourites at 7/20 to beat Mexico, who are 15/2 to cause an upset. The draw is 4/1, but whatever way you look at it this is a home win.
Mexico were poor against Italy and caused the Azzurri very few problems defensively, particularly in the second half when they looked extremely powder-puff, despite having Hernandez buzzing around as usual.
But there was little in the Mexican display that makes me think they can cause Brazil too many problems and as such, the 6/5 that Scolari’s men win to nil looks like a good way of getting value on the home win.
José Manuel De la Torre’s team had been in poor form long before arriving at the Confederations Cup with just one win in their last ten, and even that coming against Jamaica.
But goalscoring has been their number one issue: Mexico have hit the net just seven times during that ten-game sequence, failing to score on five separate occasions.
Those blanks came in a second fixture with Jamaica as well as games against the United States, Peru, Panama and Costa Rica – hardly form that makes you think they have it in them to give Brazil any trouble on their own patch.
Strangely, all those games finished 0-0 but Brazil possess the quality to make the breakthrough and with three clean sheets in their last five matches they can keep Mexico out while picking up the points – a fine-looking bet at 6/5.