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2018 FIFA World Cup: Will Mexico Break “The Curse Of The 5th Game” Against Brazil?

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has been Brazil's top offensive threat in the tournament so far. Photo By: Дмитрий Садовников {Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Tournament favorites Brazil take on Mexico at 10:00am EST on Monday, July 2nd
  • Will Mexico finally make it past the Round of 16?
  • Who has been Brazil’s best player so far?

Brazil didn’t overwhelm in the opening round of the tournament, yet they still came out on top of Group E. They progress still undefeated with a 2-1-0 record with five goals scored and only one conceded. After an opening match draw with Switzerland in which they sent 21 attempts on the Swiss goal, they followed that up with 2-0 wins over Costa Rica and Serbia.

Of all the nations in the world, Brazil is the most storied of World Cup participants. They have both participated in (20) and won (5) the most World Cups

Of all the nations in the world, Brazil is the most storied of World Cup participants. They have both participated in (20) and won (5) the most World Cups. Their last championship came in 2002, which preceded Quarter-Final exits in 2006 and 2010.

In the last World Cup in 2014, a tournament which Brazil hosted, they were run off the pitch in the Semi-Finals to the tune of 7-1 by Germany. They then went on to lose the Third Place Match 3-0 the to Netherlands.

Mexico shocked the world with an opening game 1-0 win over Germany to put them in the driver’s seat of Group F. With a 2-1 win over South Korea in their second match, they looked full value to likely progress as the top seed in their group. However the Mexicans were flat in their final match and got shut out 3-0 by Sweden.

It was only by the good fortune of South Korea achieving an upset of their own over Germany that Mexico avoided being the first team in history to not advance from the Group Stage with six points.

With Mexico going out of the tournament at this stage in the past six World Cups, it has been dubbed “The Curse Of The 5th Game”

Mexico has never won a World Cup but have appeared in the fifth-most tournaments at 15. El Tri may be regular participants, but they continually come up short in the Round of 16. After going out of the tournament at this stage in the past six World Cups, it has been dubbed “The Curse Of The 5th Game”.

O Mágico leading Brazil

It has been Philippe Coutinho, not the more talked about Neymar who has been Brazil’s most influential player so far. Coutinho leads Brazil in scoring with two goals and one assist. He was the only Brazilian to score against Switzerland with a golazo from the edge of the Swiss box. He also rescued Brazil from what would have been an unexpected draw with Costa Rica with an injury time goal at the 91′ minute.

While other Brazilian stars like Gabriel Jesus have been mostly silent, and Neymar is grabbing headlines for dribbling in circles, leaving practice, excessive flopping and crying after games, Coutinho has been the one steadying the offense through the Group Stage.

Brazil will be monitoring the fitness of defender Marcelo who had to be subbed off only nine minutes into the Serbia match. The back injury is said to be due to an issue with the mattress at the team’s hotel room of all things.

The Great Wall of Ochoa

The 3-0 loss to Sweden may be fresh in everyone’s mind, but Mexico’s keeper Guillermo Ochoa has stood on his head this tournament. With 17 saves he leads all keepers at the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Guillermo Ochoa
Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa leads all keepers in the tounament with 17 saves. Photo By: Marcello Casal Jr/Agência Brasil {Wiki Commons) [CC License]

Mexican Head Coach Juan Carlos Osorio is known for changing up his lineup. However in game 51 of his coaching resume with El Tri he did something he has never done, and that was start the same starting 11 as the game before. Given the outcome, expect to see some changes against Brazil.

Mexican Head Coach Juan Carlos Osorio started the same starting 11 for the first time in back-to-back games against Sweden during his time with the Mexican National Team

Against Sweden, Mexico proved too easy to pick off on counters and generally looked slow and tired throughout the match. Jona dos Santos of the LA Galaxy was one of Mexico’s top players at last year’s Confederations Cup and potentially could be in line for a spot in the starting 11. On Friday, he earned his first Major League Soccer All-Star selection.

World Cup Stats


2-1-0 Record 2-0-1
5 Goals Scored 3
1 Goal Allowed 4
4 Goal Differential -1
56 Total Shots 44
19 Total Shots On Target 12

Betting Advice

Pick: Brazil -200 via Bovada
Pick: Penalty Awarded – Yes +160  via Bovada

Sometimes the best way to bet on a streak is to keep riding it until it ends. Failing to advance past this stage for six consecutive World Cups must be on the minds of the Mexican team. Mexico were so close to a Round of 16 matchup with the Swiss on what’s perceived to be the “easier” right side of the bracket. But instead now get tournament favorites Brazil.

El Tri aren’t coming into this match on a high and are actually one of only two Round of 16 teams to have a negative goal-differential.

Another way to look at this match is to bet the penalty market. With the large amount of penalties being awarded and Mexican matches involving a penalty in 2/3 games thus far, +160 at via Bovada for a penalty to be awarded offers some value. Considering Brazil have the second-most shots in the tournament at 56, the Mexican box could see lots of action. A penalty being awarded specifically for Brazil pays out at +275.

Brazil vs Mexico Odds Via Bovada

Spread Moneyline Total To Qualify
BRA -1 (-120) -200 2.5 (+105) O -400
MEX +1 (EVEN) +650 2.5 (-125) U +300
DRAW +310

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Ryan has always enjoyed playing, watching, writing about, and betting on sports. He brings his industry knowledge and expertise to SportsBettingDime as our resident soccer guru, though his repertoire is by no means limited there.