After months of inconsistent and poor performances by Mexico, fans of El Tri are finally relieved after Mexico’s win against Cameroon, but are now overconfident about Mexico’s future in the World Cup. After the final whistle blew on Friday, Mexicans are expecting to at least draw against Brazil on Tuesday and finally beat Croatia to secure a spot in the knockout stage. However, El Tri and its fans should not rest on their laurels and fall into a false sense of belief regarding Mexico’s possible reach.
Cameroon’s performance on the field was awful and was not up to the challenge that a World Cup debut implies. The “untamable lions” seemed more like domesticated kittens and failed to put pressure on Mexico. In addition, Cameroon was, as everybody, surprised by Mexico’s quick first touch and physical effort to recover the ball. Despite the above, with a such poor display, Cameroon had many shots — almost as many as Mexico, and could have leveled the game with a last minute header. Moreover, Mexico seemed to have run out of breath during the final 15-20 minutes and started to allow open spaces f0r Cameroon to veer close to the goal.
The game against Brazil will be a much harder test for Mexico, and will reveal Mexico’s real odds in this year’s World Cup betting odds. With a much more aggressive pace than Cameroon, Brazil will pressure Mexico and will inevitably expose El Tri’s slow defense. Furthermore, the Scratch du Oro will hop on the field with a lighter burden and will display a more elaborate performance that could only be restrained if Mexico’s midfield proves to be as relentless as it was against Cameroon.
Mexico is well aware that Brazil will probably secure its place in the knockout stage with a win against El Tri; moreover, Croatia’s defeat against Brazil and Mexico’s victory against Cameroon were outcomes expected by El Piojo Herrera. In that sense, Mexico’s task against Brazil has probably always been to lose by only one goal and, as expected, face their third match against Croatia with a “loser goes home” mentality.