After the refereeing controversies in both Brazil and Mexico’s opening game, FIFA released the names of the refereeing crew for this one later than for Tuesday’s other two games. But the appointments have been made public now, and it will be Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir overseeing this one, with help from assistants Buhattin Duran and Turik Ongun, also of Turkey. The fourth official is Norway’s Svein Oddvar.
Brazil and Mexico each picked up three points in their first games, with Brazil currently topping the table due to goal difference (+2 to Mexico’s +1). That tiebreaker highlights the importance of assistant referees getting the offside calls right; if Giovani dos Santos’s two goals against Cameroon had stood, El Tri would currently be in first place. Mexico will hope that the goal difference and goals scored tiebreakers will not come back to haunt them when it comes to advancing out of the group.
Meanwhile, Brazil looked decidedly unimpressive in their 3-1 win against Croatia, where the hosts were given a very questionable penalty kick and Croatia had a goal disallowed for a soft foul on goalkeeper Julio Cesar. As the host nation, Brazil did not have to go through qualifying and instead have been playing only friendlies. With no matches of any real importance until last Thursday’s opener against Croatia, perhaps Brazil could be forgiven for looking a little off the pace. They’ll need to show more against Mexico if they want to make it two wins in a row.
As for El Tri, they defeated Brazil in the 2012 London Olympics to take the gold medal, and they would love to upset the Brazilians again when they face off in the Estadio Castelão on Tuesday. Mexico is a strong attacking team with plenty of firepower in Oribe Peralta, Giovani dos Santos, Marco Fabián and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, but their defense, particularly on set pieces, has always been their Achilles’ heel. With the likes of Neymar on the field, Mexico’s defense will need to show improvement, and also avoid giving away unnecessary fouls and free kicks.