Brazil look for second round win

2014-06-17 08:08
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (Supplied)
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (Supplied)

Cape Town - Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil play Mexico in their second World Cup match on Tuesday knowing that a win would virtually secure a place in the last 16.

Victory in the Group A game in Fortaleza (1900 GMT) would also be revenge for losing 2-1 to the Mexicans in the London Olympics final in 2012.

Belgium play Algeria in Belo Horizonte (1600 GMT) and Russia play South Korea in Cuiaba (2200 GMT) in the day's other games.

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 in the World Cup's opening match, with two goals from Neymar, but a bitterly disputed penalty took the gloss off the win. Coach Scolari will be looking for a more convincing performance by the tournament favourites.

If Brazil win and Wednesday's Cameroon-Croatia game ends in a draw or a win for Croatia then the hosts are guaranteed a place in the second round.

Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 in their first game which also saw refereeing controversy. Two goals by Giovani dos Santos, son of a Brazilian emigre, were disallowed by the referee.

Brazil and Mexico have a history in Fortaleza. When they met in the Confederations Cup there on year ago, the national anthem halted after 90 seconds and Brazilian fans carried on singing an acapella version that captain Thiago Silva said inspired them to a 2-0 victory.

The style has since been repeated at all Brazil games and by other South American nations. "If they sing like that this time, we will know the fans are with us," said Thiago Silva.- 12 year absence -

Belgium and Russia are both playing their first games in a World Cup finals since 2002.

Coach Marc Wilmots scored Belgium's last goal in the World Cup finals in 2002. Now they have Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany who have made them a fancied team who should beat Algeria.

Algeria have a young team built around defender Madjid Bougherra, midfielders Sofiane Feghouli and Medhi Lacen, and forward Islam Slimani for their fourth World Cup finals.

Despite a famous victory over West Germany in 1982, the Desert Foxes have never been past the group stages.

Fabio Capello returns to the World Cup in charge of Russia four years after a miserable exit from the 2010 finals with England, who were hammered 4-1 by old rivals Germany.

Now he is trying his arch-disciplinarian tactics on a team that has to defend national honour ahead of hosting the 2018 World Cup.

Veteran defender Vasily Berezutskiy has been named captain in place of the injured Roman Shirokov because his English was best, according to Capello..

"We have things to prove in this World Cup," said the stand-in skipper, who plays with CSKA Moscow.

"It's been 12 years since Russia have participated in the World Cup so our objective is to play more than three games, try to qualify from our group and after that we will see."

South Korea only barely made it into their eighth straight World Cup finals and lost to Tunisia and Ghana in their final warmups.

Coach Hong Myung-Bo apologised after the Tunisia defeat in Seoul. But the Taeguk Warriors still have dangerous players in European based stars Park Chu-Young and Son Heung-Min.

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