Ekaterinburg (Russia), June 26 (IANS) Mexico will aim to cement their place at the top of Group F while Sweden will battle for survival in what could be a tricky World Cup clash at the Ekaterinburg Arena here on Wednesday. Mexico has been one of the biggest attractions of this World Cup. They started their campaign in spectacular fashion, stunning defending champions Germany 1-0. A 2-1 win against South Korea in their next match strengthened their position at the top of the group.
A draw will see them make sure of a berth in the next round and cement their status as group winners. Star striker Javier Hernandez became the first to score 50 goals in a Mexican jersey when he struck against South Korea -- his 104th international appearance. But the West Ham United star is not in a mood to celebrate that goal too much and is only focused on Wednesday's match
"It meant only three points, and it wasn't even enough to secure our ticket. It was good to achieve the record but also because it was a distraction, now I can focus on the most important thing: helping the team reach the Round of 16," Hernandez was quoted as saying by FIFA.com. Mexico must play counter-attacking football and can switch from the 3-4-3 to the 4-3-3 formation according to the situation.
Sweden, however, will not be a walkover. The team from northern Europe have a strong defence and are well organised in midfield. They gave the formidable Germans a tough time before Jimmy Durmaz conceded the foul that allowed Toni Kroos to score a dramatic late winner for the defending champions. That denied the Swedes a chance to cement the second spot in the group. They will have to gather themselves once again for what should be yet another difficult contest.
Sweden must win in order to make sure of a second round spot. In case of a draw or a loss, their chances will depend on whether South Korea manage to beat Germany in the other Group F match. That will be a difficult task for Sweden as they are primarily a defence minded team dependent on counter attacks. The Mexicans are also adept at counter attacks and the Europeans will have to be cautious.
"We showed that we can match the reigning champions almost all the way to the end and that strengthens the self-confidence. We will go into the match with a strong belief that we again can make a top performance. Mentally we are very very strong and with a belief in what we do," Sweden manager Janne Andersson was quoted as saying by FIFA.com.
Mexico probable starting lineup: Ochoa; Alvarez, Ayala, Moreno, Gallardo; Herrera, Guardado; Layun, Vela, Lozano; Hernandez
Sweden probable starting lineup: Olsen; Lustig, Granqvist, Lindelof, Augustinsson; Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg; Toivonen, Berg
Mexico vs Sweden 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F Match Prediction: Mexico to win by 2-1.