World Cup Daily: Brazil face Mexico

World Cup Daily: Brazil face Mexico
June 17, 2014, 9:30 am
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Game of the Day: Mexico vs. Brazil, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Neymar had the lead in goals until Monday, but looks to add to his total as the hosts face off against Mexico in a battle between the top two teams in Group A. Brazil are the heavy favorite again, but need to be careful against the scrappy Mexicans, especially without the services of Hulk on Tuesday. Some Brazilian fans may be glad Hulk may miss the game, but he's still one of the best players on the team. Neymar and Oscar will look to pick up where they left off against Croatia.

Mexico, meanwhile, will look to shock the world and will need a big game from Oribe Peralta and Giovanni Dos Santos. That's especially true manager Miguel Herrera insists on benching Chicharito to start matches. A point for Mexico would go a long way for helping them advance over Croatia, with their final matchup likely deciding who advances.

Player of the Day: F Eden Hazard, Belgium

If you don't know about Hazard and the Belgians, please watch at noon as they'll prove they are a country that does more than make delicious chocolates and waffles. The Belgians are a legitimate threat to win the whole tournament, and would likely have better odds if this were in Europe. Hazard is the best attacking talent from a generation full of phenomenal attacking talent coming through the Belgian system. Hazard is a wide forward who likes to cut in, similar to a Ronaldo, just not quite as developed. 

Best of the Rest: Belgium face Algeria in the early game in what should be the Belgian's coming out party. While they lack true fullbacks, the Belgians do have four solid defenders along their backline and solid players in the midfield and attack in their 4-3-3 system. You really should watch them play, even if just for a few minutes. They won't try to ugly it up, they'll just play attractive, attacking soccer that is nothing but entertaining. 

In the late evening game, Russia and South Korea make their 2014 World Cup debuts in a game that should ultimately decide the second team that advances out of Group H. Russia is an aging team that still has enough talent to compete. Midfielder Alan Dzagoev leads the Russian attack against South Korea and he'll look to connect with Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who could become Russia's all-time leading goal scorer with one goal in the World Cup. I would look for South Korea to lean on Son Heung-min after his solid first season at Bayer Leverkusen. 

Day 5 review: John Brooks, meet America. America, meet John Brooks. The German-born center back elevated himself to legend status with his 86th minute goal that sealed the deal against Ghana. Meanwhile, Germany didn't leave anything to late as they took it to Portugal in a 4-0 rout for Die Mannschaft. 

Football Follies: Iran-Nigeria -- just as a whole, this game was easily the worst of the tournament so far. It's not even close and was the first scoreless draw. Yikes.

Predictions: Belgium 3, Algeria 0. Brazil 3, Mexico 1. Russia 1, South Korea 1.