Brazil have been standout favourites from the start, will they progress past the quarter-finals and can the Mexicans overcome Senegal?The Brazilian's have expectantly steamrolled their way past the group stages and arrive at the quarter-finals in formidable form where they will face Honduras. Meanwhile, Mexico have put in accomplished performances to comfortably win their group as well and will face a physical Senegalese side.
Goal.com analyses the two fixtures and determines who has the best chance of progressing.
|Brazil vs Honduras
|Brazil must not be complacent
Brazil have scored an impressive total of nine goals from their three group games. Their flair and technical supremacy makes them the most feared side in the tournament. They are well on course to winning their first ever gold medal.
Honduras is the team that stands in Brazil's way at the moment. Although considered underdogs, they will have a strong belief that if they play their cards right they could pull off another upset after beating Spain 1-0 to produce the shock of the tournament.
Brazil began in ominous fashion and haven't taken their foot off the pedal since. They have bagged three goals in each of their group games. The likes of Oscar, Neymar, Ganso and Hulk have terrorized defences while Thiago Silva has been a rock on the heart of defense.
Scoring goals clearly doesn't seem to be an issue for the 'samba kings'. Although Egypt proved to be a tough test for them, they went on to average 66% possession over their next two games and amassed a tally of 56 shots over the three games. Their defense however has not been as invincible as their attack and are always susceptible to the odd mistake.
Honduras had a difficult start against Morocco which ended in a 2-2 draw. Jerry Bengston is the man who's scored all three of their goals and they will be hoping he can continue in the same manner. Their victory over Spain has earned them the tag of 'giant killers' and Brazil will not want to take them lightly.
The Hondurans went into their final group game against Japan needing a positive result and managed a draw since both teams played with the aim of not losing the game.
In a tournament like this where teams have to play every three days, it comes down to a lot more than skill and overall talent. The fitness and mental strength of players can play a vital role. Having said that, Brazil should be too powerful for the Hondurans to stop. However, Honduras will be going into the game with nothing to lose and that advantage can always work wonders for a team.
|Mexico vs Senegal
|Mexico must not be bullied by Senegal
Mexico have come through the group stages without conceding a single goal and that is the most impressive aspect of their performance so far. Having won the group, they go into the quarter-finals believing they have what it takes to go all the way to the finals.
They will come up against Senegal who have forced themselves into a spot in the quarter-finals. The fact that they beat Uruguay to a qualifying spot is reason enough to take them very seriously. They have surpassed expectations by making it this far in the competition and won't be happy with slowing down now.
Mexico's defensive strategy cannot be stressed on enough. Their style of pressing their opponents frequently sees the ball played all the way back to the opposition's goalkeeper. Switzerland, in particular struggled with that tactic and regularly faltered while trying to clear their lines which is why the second half of that game was dominated by the Mexicans.
Jose Corona has been immense for Mexico between the posts. Giovani dos Santos and company have been accomplished in possession in Mexico's midfield.
What Senegal lack in attacking guile, they make up for with brute force. They have faced two of the strongest teams in the tournament in Great Britain and Uruguay and have come away with four points. They have been defined by their physical nature and have regularly dismantled attacks their opponents have tried to put together.
In their victory over Uruguay, Luis Suarez was kept on a short leash by the Senegalese midfield who never afforded him any time or space. From an attacking perspective, Moussa Konate has scored all of his country's four goals in the tournament and is the surprise frontrunner for the Golden Boot at this time. He isn't the most skillful striker but he has a habit of sniffing out goals.
This is one of those games that could really go either way. It's hard to say whether a team will be able to face up to the kind of physical challenge Senegal will offer. However, we are going to bank on Mexico's defense to remaining as stubborn as they've been so far and can see their attack getting the better of Senegal's back line. It may be hard to keep Mossa Konate at bay but will be even harder to stifle the efforts of the likes of dos Santos and Marco Fabian.
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