Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tall Order for Mexicans in Brazil

Sunday brings on a tall order for the Mexicans against the Dutch, the tallest race on earth. The Netherlands and Mexico will square off noon EST in Fortaleza's Castelao stadium, where even in the shade of the northernmost Brazilian stadium, temperatures have reached over 90 degrees during the day. It's hard to imagine how these players will handle the action in the blazing sun, but they'll have to find a way if they want to move on to the Quarterfinals.

Unfortunately for Mexico, the Dutch are built around a strong counter-attack. If el Tri starts to wear down in the heat, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie could run wild behind the Mexican defense. Guillermo Ochoa has been stellar in net so far for Mexico, but shutting down two of the world's greatest scorers is too much to ask of any keeper. Expect La Verde to employ a high line, especially late in the game, and pray they can draw the Netherlands attack offside, neutralizing their deadly over-the-top through balls. 

Although the odds-on favorite, the Netherlands face a Mexican side that in all likelihood, will dominate the ball. Their passing game has been world-class, even earning 49% time of possession in a 0-0 draw against the home-nation Brazil. In fact, the match against Brazil took place in Fortaleza, so the Mexicans may have some idea of what to expect from the conditions. Unlike the Brazilians, the Netherlands defense will send intense pressure to the ball to try and turn the Mexicans over and get out on their patented counters. If Mexico can keep the defense stretched while moving the ball quickly, they'll get their opportunities. 

The real question of the day: will the suspension of Jose Juan Vasquez prompt a start for "Chicharito" up front for el Tri? Tune in at 11:55am EST on SnapCall for all the action!

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