Luiz Felipe Scolari is spoilt for choice ahead of Brazil’s second Confederations Cup game against Mexico at the Castelao. With the Selecao in fine form during their comprehensive 3-0 victory in Group A’s opener against Japan, and star player Neymar expected to shake off a minor knock picked up in the game, the 64-year-old’s main concern is deciding if to change a winning formula. Atletico Miniero striker Jo, who scored as a second-half substitute against Japan, could start, with Hulk or Fred the most likely to miss out – though Lucas Moura may find it harder to displace Paulinho and Oscar in midfield. But while Brazil could clinch a semi-final berth with victory, Mexico face a win or bust scenario, as such a result will all but confirm their elimination from the tournament after a 2-1 reverse to Italy on Sunday.
Jose Manuel de la Torre may be tempted to ring the changes after a sub-standard showing against the Azzurri, and Geraldo Flores could see his starting berth threatened by Hiram Mier after he was exposed as a weak link by Cesare Prandelli’s men.
Mexico emerged victorious in the last full international between these two sides, defeating Brazil 2-0 in Texas last June.
El Tri also dispatched Selecao 2-1 in the final of the men’s football tournament at the 2012 summer Olympic Games.
Fourteen players from the gold medal game will make the trip to Fortaleza on Wednesday, though Leandro Damiao, who topped the scoring charts in London, was ruled out of Brazil’s Confederations Cup squad through injury.
Brazil have won 14 of the 23 clashes between the two sides, outscoring Mexico 44 goals to 25 in the process.
Julio Cesar and Thiago Silva, on 70 and 65 caps respectively, are the only players in the Brazil squad to top a half century of appearances for the senior national team.
By contrast, Mexico can list eight squad members who have played more than 50 international games, with Gerardo Torrado and Carlos Salcido boasting 255 caps between them – while Andres Guardado is five away from his century.
At 25. Javier Hernandez (pictured, right) is already the fifth highest Mexican goalscorer of all time, with 33 strikes in 51 matches, and needs only 13 more goals to equal Jared Borgetti’s record tally of 46.