|World Cup 2014|
ScheduleFriday, 13 June 2014 at 14:00 GMT / 15:00 UK / 19:30 IST
VenueArena das Dunas (Natal)
Next Friday, Mexico will go head-to-head with Cameroon at Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, on both sides’ first match at the World Cup.
After the “honeymoon period” that followed Miguel Herrera’s arrival at the Mexico National Team, the Tricolor side were defeated twice in just four days, something that left their manager clearly frustrated. Mexico showed some evident deficiencies in their defence line and some lack of accuracy up in the front. The five-man defensive wall, with the veteran Rafa Marquez acting as a libero helping his team to build up their possession game from behind, appears to be an interesting and not very usual concept these days, although it takes plenty of effort and commitment in order for things to work smoothly, and probably Miguel Herrera did not spend the time needed with his players to make the team’s engine roar. On the match against Portugal, Mexico somehow controlled great part of the match, with plenty of possession, but failed to successfully materialize their chances and ended up conceding a last minute goal by Bruno Alves that dictated the match’s final outcome.
Mexico currently plays in a versatile 5-3-2 system with a libero placed between the defence and midfield lines and two skilled and fast men up in the front. Miguel Herrera, who only arrived at the team before their World Cup qualification playoff matches against New Zealand, didn’t have much time to successfully implement and pass his ideas unto the players; nevertheless, Mexico look now a far more dangerous team and with quality footballers such as Chicharito Hernández, Gio dos Santos, and Andrés Guardado, the team might pose a serious threat to Brazil’s and Croatia’s favouritism at the Group A of the tournament.
Miguel Herrera will not be able to count on the contribution of Luis Montes for the entire tournament, as he a suffered a severe injury during the team’s recent friendly match against Ecuador.
As for Cameroon, their opening match against Mexico will certainly also be of major importance if they want to have a word to say at this year’s tournament. Even after the arrival of Volker Finke to the helm of the team, Cameroon maintained the inconsistency displayed during the World Cup qualification round and they have only managed to win two of their five preparation matches, grabbing a surprising draw against Germany somewhere in the middle. Last Saturday, Cameroon defeated a fragile Moldova side by 1-0 and, despite some interesting and pleasing football moments during the match, the team failed to disguise some nervousness and lack of confidence, quite evident among the players.
The African Lions have only agreed to travel to Brazil last Sunday, after having finally agreed terms with the Cameroonian football association regarding the World Cup bonuses to be received by the players, something that has clearly mamed the team’s attitude over the last weeks.
For next Friday’s clash, although they have failed to win their recent two matches, Mexico might be considered slight favourites, since they look a far more solid and consistent team than Cameroon.
Stats: W-2 L-2 D-1
Recent Form - LLWWD
Stats: W-2 L-2 D-1
Recent Form -WLDWL
Mexico (5-3-2) - Corona - Layun - Moreno - Salcido - Marquez - Ponce - Herrera - Vázquez - Guardado - Gio dos Santos - Javier Hernández
Cameroon (4-2-3-1) - Itandje - Nkoulou - Djoegoe - Chedjou - Assou-Ekotto - Enoh - Song - M’bia - Makoun - Moting - Eto’o