You wouldn’t want to cross the Russian mafia. But you wouldn’t want to upset a Mexican cartel, either. So we are between a rock and a rough place when trying to find a winner for Saturday’s Confederations Cup game.
This is because Russia, who are +204 with Matchbook, are not to be trusted as far as you can throw them. They have consistently underperformed in tournaments and it looks like they will do so again. As we have said before, if it wasn’t for hosting the World Cup in 2018 they probably wouldn’t have qualified.
In their 1-0 defeat by Portugal last time out, Russia couldn’t manage a single shot on target. Yes, they can be organised and play with intensity but there is absolutely no cutting edge to this lot. Unlike the mafia, of course.
In that regard they can easily fool us. They look like a neat and tidy side who like to keep the ball, moving it out from the back. But then, slowly, it dawns on you that that is all they can do. They never seem to have any pace.
In their opening game of the tournament they beat New Zealand 2-0. Meh. One of those goals was an own goal. And they struggled for inspiration against a limited Kiwi team.
Mexico were a little bit dodgy against New Zealand themselves, coming from behind for a 2-1 win. They also came from behind in their first game, securing a 2-2 draw against fancied Portugal.
But we are admirers of resilience. And Mexico have plenty of that. They are unbeaten in their last ten competitive games.
It is true that the New Zealand game is not a huge pointer. Mexico made eight changes and changed formation. For this one they are expected to field a full-strength team and play their favoured 4-3-3.
So that should ensure a game of contrasting styles. While Russia have no final ball, Mexico are gung-ho and can slice through teams. So far no side has more than their 33 attempts on goal. That is an incredible number from just two games. Over 2.5 goals may float your boat, then. The tournament average is 2.7 goals per match.
Mexico are +750 with 888Sport to win 1-0 and +1100 with the same firm and William Hill for a 2-0 success.