Brazil leftback Marcelo said his side would not be seeking revenge when they renew acquaintance with Mexico in their second game of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Fortaleza today.
The last encounter between teams representing the two countries saw Mexico shock the five-time world champions with a 2-1 victory in the final of the men’s soccer competition at the London Olympics last year.
It was a crushing defeat for Brazil, who have never claimed Olympic gold, but Marcelo said those involved had quickly put it behind them.
“The Mexico defeat didn’t stick in my throat. I don’t see this match as a chance for revenge,” said the Real Madrid defender, who was one of three permitted players aged more than 23 in Brazil’s Olympic squad. “Of course, I remember it. It was a very sad day for the players and the whole of Brazil. It’s difficult to say why we weren’t able to pierce their defense. We know that Mexico have great players, but we’re Brazil and we have some, too. We can think that the match will be difficult, but they have to think that as well.”
Brazil enjoyed an ideal start to the Confederations Cup on Saturday, with a stunning goal from poster boy Neymar setting them on the way to a breezy 3-0 win over Group A rivals Japan in the capital Brasilia.
Brazil will secure a place in the semi-finals if they overcome Mexico at the Estadio Castelao, but Marcelo was bewildered by reporters’ questions about the possibility of a final showdown with world champions Spain.
“You talk about Spain as if they were already waiting for us in the final, but we’ve barely started the competition,” he said. “If we have to play them in the final, very good, it’ll be a great match, but we still have to play Mexico and Italy. Any adversary could then fall into our path — even Tahiti. It’s not up to us to pick our opponents.”
As well as the Olympic final victory, Mexico prevailed 2-0 when the sides last met in an international friendly in Texas last year and Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has also warned his players not to take them lightly.
“We must be wary of Mexico and get over that hurdle,” Scolari said. “Mexico have been making life complicated for us for a few years now.”
Having lost 2-1 to Italy in their opening game at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, Mexico know that they will be eliminated if they lose to Brazil and Italy avoid defeat against Japan.
Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre claimed “individual actions” were responsible for the loss to Italy, and in the Brazil of Neymar, Oscar and Hulk, he must confront another adversary brimming with individual talent.
“We produced some great football, but there are things to correct and we now have to concentrate on the next match against Brazil,” De la Torre said.
The defeat by Italy means Mexico have now won just once in 10 games this year and with their World Cup qualifying hopes also in the balance, a positive display against Brazil would represent a timely fillip.
The Estadio Castelao, home to Brazilian sides Ceara and Fortaleza, has undergone extensive renovation in preparation for the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup, giving it an increased capacity of 64,846.