2014 World Cup Match Day Preview: Day 6

Mexico vs Brazil - World Cup Day 6

Match day 6 sees Group H finally take to the pitch to complete the first round of matches for all of the nations involved in the tournament. Meanwhile Brazil takes on Mexico in the marquee match of the day.

Belgium vs. Algeria

Match Info

Everyone's favourite dark horse, Belgium, kick off their campaign against Algeria at the 58,170 capacity Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. The stadium has already hosted Colombia's impressive 3-0 victory on June 14.

Algeria has only played Belgium twice before, with Belgium winning once and the other match ending in a draw.

Estadio Mineirao

With much expected of the Belgium side going into this tournament, it's worth remembering that this is the country's first appearance in the World Cup since 2002, so it will be new tertitory for the squad. Algeria on the other hand gave a decent account of themselves in South Africa, proving to be a very tough side to break down. The Algeria will look to spoil the Belgium party before it gets started.

Players to Watch

Blessed with an exciting squad of players that have been plying their trade across Europe's big leagues over the past few seasons, Belgium has several players such as Axel Witsel, Romelu Lukaku, and Adnan Januzaj to keep an eye on. But their main creative spark will likely be created by Chelsea's Eden Hazard. The 23 year old attacking midfielder has the potential to be one of the stars of the World Cup if he shows the sort of form he displayed in the Premier League this season. For the Desert Foxes, Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli will be the player to watch. The dynamic right winger will provide pace on the counter attack and will give Vincent Kompany and company, no pun intended, something to think about.

Eden Hazard of Belgium

Brazil vs. Mexico

Match Info

Brazil continue their campaign as they take on Mexico at the Estadio Castelao. The 60,342 capacity ground was the site of Costa Rica's shock 3-1 win over Uruguay on June 14.

Brazil and Mexico have met 38 times with Brazil winning 22 to Mexico's 10 and the sides drawing 6 times.

Estadio Castelao

After an uneven start against Croatia, which featured a highly debatable penalty kick in their favour, hosts Brazil will look to virtually assure their place in the Round of 16 with a win over Mexico. The Mexican side meanwhile were a lot better than their 1-0 win over Cameroon suggests as they were victims themselves of some dreadful officiating. Although Brazil will of course be the favourites heading into this encounter, the swift counter attacking Mexicans may be able to put some pressure on a back line that hardly convinced in the first match.

Players to Watch

After much hype about this being his World Cup to shine in, Neymar actually did perform in the opener. His two goals and overall play caught the eye and he will again be Brazil's main attacking threat. The movement and goal threat of Santos Laguna's Oribe Peralta, illustrated by his opportunist strike against Cameroon, will be the player Mexico will be counting on to fire them into the Round of 16.


Russia vs. Korean Republic

Match Info

The last match of the day sees Fabio Capello's Russia take on perennial qualifiers from Asia, Korea Republic. 

This match will be played at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, which was built from the ground up for this years World Cup. The 39,859 capacity venue played host to Chile's 3-1 win over Australia on June 13.

Russia has played Korea Republic only once before and emerged as a 2-1 victors in a friendly between the two sides last year.

Arena Pantanal

In a fairly open Group H, that also contains Belgium and Algeria, a winner in the match could take a firm grip on a spot in the next round. Capello will have his side well drilled and organized, as he looks to rebound from a disastrous World Cup in 2010 with England. Korea Republic, have had much stronger sides in the past, but they'll be looking to use their speed to get behind the Russian defense. 

Players to Watch

The most prolific goal scorer in the history of the Russian top flight, Aleksandr Kerzhakov will be looking to fire his country into the knockout stages. The FC Zenit St. Petersburg player has found the net 25 times for his country and will be looking to add to that total in Brazil. For Korea, the pace and scoring threat of Bayer Leverkusen's Son Heung-Min will be relied on to provide their attack impetus. Although he's blown hot and cold for his club this season, if Heung-Min finds form he can be very difficult to contain.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov

Match-day 6 - Staff Picks 

Pedro: Belgium 3-1 Algeria, Brazil 2-0 Mexico, Russia 2-0 Korea Republic
Kon: Belgium 2-1 Algeria, Brazil 2-1 Mexico, Russia 3-1 Korea Republic
Iain: Belgium 2-0 Algeria, Brazil 2-1 Mexico, Russia 1-1 Korea Republic


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