Rostov-on-Don (Russia), June 22: A confident Mexico will be eyeing their second win to seal a pre-quarterfinal berth when they take on South Korea in a Group F match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Rostov Arena on Saturday.
The South Americans were impressive during their 1-0 win over defending champions Germany in their campaign opener where they put on one of the best team performances.
Meanwhile, the Asian side will be under pressure after going down 0-1 to Sweden on Monday and are facing the prospect of being eliminated at the group stage in a second consecutive World Cup. Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong will certainly be wanting something special from his side to keep themselves alive in the mega event.
The Koreans played well in their first match, but found the going tough against the tall, physically strong Swedes. While the Koreans did well in the midfield, the well-organised Sweden defence coupled with the Europeans' physical advantage proved too much for them.
While most of the Mexican players do not have too much of a physical presence, their superior skills and tactical ability will present a different sort of challenge for the Koreans. Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be hoping for a repeat show from his side and despite being known for reshuffling his lineup, he is not expected to make much changes against the Koreans.
Hirving Lozano, star for Mexico against Germany, scored the only game of the match and will be eager to go against South Korea to find the back of the net again. However, despite having a great start to their campaign and being favourites in Saturday's clash, Mexico midfielder Marco Fabian believes his side has to still do a lot.
"We reached our first target and have beaten Germany, but we can't sit back," Fabian told the media. "Some consider us to be group favourites now, and that's a compliment - but it's one we shouldn't believe. There are no favourites in this World Cup," he added.
On the other hand, Koreans after suffering a defeat by Sweden, would have to reconsider their 4-3-3 formation which handed space to their opponents in the first game. South Korea midfielder Koo Ja-cheol said his teammates were preparing to tackle Mexico and had found striker Javier Hernandezas as one of the major threat.
"Of course we are not ready to give up. Everyone put in so much effort to get here," Koo said. "What we want is to turn fans' disappointment into joy," he added. Overall, it will be a herculean task for the Asian outfit to pull off a victory against the Mexicans on Saturday.
South Korea probable starting lineup: Cho; Lee Yong, Chan, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Min-woo; Lee Jae-sung, Ki, Koo; Hwang, Kim Shin-wook, Son
Mexico possible probable lineup: Ochoa; Salcedo, Ayala, Moreno, Gallardo; Herrera, Guardado, Layun, Vela, Lozano, Hernandez
South Korea vs Mexico, 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F Match Prediction: South Korea 0-1 Mexico (Inputs from IANS).