Brazil vs. Mexico: Team Line Ups

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Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has been forced to make one key change to his starting XI for this evening's Group A clash with familiar foes Mexico in Fortaleza, with Hulk failing to win his fitness battle after suffering a muscle injury in training two days ago.

Hulk's omission means Scolari is without a considerable presence out wide, but does allow Chelsea midfield maestro Ramires to join Oscar, Neymar and Fred in a reshaped attack.

Ramires will have far more defensive responsibility than Hulk, with the thinking from Scolari's point of view that full-backs Dani Alves and particularly Marcelo need more protection than they afforded in last Thursday's 2-1 victory over Croatia.

Luis Gustavo will continue to be the key midfield enforcer and allow Tottenham Hotspur man Paulinho to forage further forward in support of Neymar, who shone brightest against Croatia and scored twice in his maiden World Cup appearance.

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Mexico also come into tonight's showdown with three points in the bank after doing enough to edge past Cameroon in their opening game, thanks to a solitary strike from in-form marksman Oribe Peralta.

El Tri coach Miguel Herrera caused some surprise by leaving Manchester United hitman Javier Hernandez on the bench for that Cameroon clash, although he produced a winning formula and as a result sticks with Peralta and Giovanni Dos Santos in attack.

The teams are:

Brazil: Cesar; Alves, Luiz, Silva, Marcelo; Gustavo, Paulinho; Hulk, Oscar, Neymar; Fred.

Mexico: Ochoa; Aguilar, Moreno, Marquez, Rodriguez, Layun; Guardado, Vazquez, Herrera; Dos Santos, Peralta.

The Selecao are strong favourites to make it two wins from two and all but secure safe passage to the knockout stages, but a nation will definitely expect a much more composed performance than they saw against Croatia last week.

Brazil emerged victorious when the two teams met in the same stadium at the Confederations Cup last summer, although Mexico did claim a notable scalp against the South American giants in the Olympic Games final two years ago.

Prediction: Mexico have only managed to beat Brazil six times in their last 36 attempts and would need a heroic effort to produce a seventh success in enemy territory tonight. 

Brazil have the firepower to breach a creaky defence and with Oscar and Neymar given licence to roam freely in the final third will create chances. Fred was a relative passenger against Croatia but he should be back on the scoresheet this evening in a 2-0 win.

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World Cup
Brazil Football
Mexico Football

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