The second round of fixtures in the group stage of the Confederations Cup offers Mexico an excellent opportunity to secure their place in the semi-finals of the competition. Three points against New Zealand in Sochi on June 21 will all but guarantee their passage along with either Russia or Portugal.
The Mexicans actually have some decent Confederations Cup pedigree to call upon, winning this event in 1999 and making the semi-final stage in 1995 and 2005. The class of 2017 will be looking to emulate those performances.
As for New Zealand, pride plays a big factor in international sport and you won’t find many prouder nations than the Kiwis. It would be a huge upset as far as the bookmakers are concerned, but they will have every hope of achieving a ‘giant-killing’ against their more experienced opponents.
1. The Bookies Choice - Odds
Given their greater heritage in world football and, let’s face it, greater ability on an player by player basis, it is no surprise to see Mexico installed as favourites by the bookies for this game at 1.13. It’s a price tag they deserve.
If you believe in fairytale stories then New Zealand’s odds of 34.00 will be of interest, while the draw can be backed at 9.00 if you think the Kiwis can hang on to an unlikely point.
Mexico vs New Zealand 1X2 - Best odds
2. Mexico vs New Zealand Betting Tips
The Copa America in 2016 didn’t quite pan out as well for Mexico as they would have liked; they were quite a few pundits’ dark horses for the trophy. But after romping through the group phase – which included a comfortable victory over Uruguay – they succumbed to a resounding 0-7 loss against eventual winners Chile; and that highlighted the gulf between the Mexicans and the elite operators in world football.
But they can gain some of their pride back in Russia, and their record in competitive fixtures since Copa America reads W4 D3 L0, so clearly they are back on track.
You only need to take a quick look at their side to know that the quality is there. There aren’t many more prolific goalscorers than Javier Hernandez around, and in attack he is joined by the crafty Carlos Vela, who has enjoyed a career renaissance at Real Sociedad.
In midfield the likes of Andres Guardado, Giovani Dos Santos and Hector Herrera have been around the block, while Guillermo Ochoa in goal is an outstanding shot stopper. Mexico are a solid, well organised team with a smattering of star names – they truly are a well-balanced international outfit.
As for New Zealand, they only have two players at top flight clubs: Winston Reid of West Ham United and Bill Tuiloma of Marseille. The rest of their squad is made up of players who ply their trade at lower levels of European and world football, and that gap in quality is likely to be in evidence here.
The Kiwis will make life difficult for Mexico, but the South Americans’ greater class will ultimately shine through.
Mexico will be praying that Javier Hernandez, who has scored 46 goals in 90 appearances for his country, remains free from injury and can net the goals necessary to take his side to the knockout stages of this competition.