World Cup 2014, Brazil v Mexico: Neymar and Co hope to continue spreading the Joy when they visit Fortaleza

The City of Joy hosts the favourites tonight

Fortaleza advertises itself as “The City of Joy” and the arrival of the Brazilian team has sparked one long, joyous party all along the waterfront of this seaside city. 

The question was always how well Brazil would take the immense pressure of staging their own World Cup in the most football-obsessed nation on the planet -  and when Croatia took the lead in Sao Paulo, the question mark appeared several feet tall.

The Neymar-inspired recovery allowed the nation to enjoy a World Cup whose sheer, staggering cost had sparked demonstrations that attracted hundreds of thousands. Now they filled the streets of Fortaleza once more, not to demand the money assigned for stadiums be spent on schools and hospitals but to applaud the arrival of the Selecao’s bus. 

Mexico, whom they face at the Castelao tonight, have been described as Brazil’s bogey team on the grounds that they denied them a goal medal at the London Olympics. They have also won a game on Brazilian soil but that was as long ago as 1968 and there has been nothing since. The collective scoreline of their World Cup meetings reads 11-0.

 

Phil Scolari’s only concern is the fitness of the Zenit St Petersburg striker, Hulk, who has hamstring trouble but otherwise his demand, delivered in Sao Paulo, that Brazil side seize their moment and take the World Cup head on has been met.

Mexico impressed when overcoming Cameroon in Natal rather more than the 1-0 scoreline suggested. Their manager, Miguel Herrera, adopted a 3-5-2 formation which flooded the midfield at the Estadio das Dunas and gave Mexico a width they exploited.

It will be difficult to imagine Brazil resisting as feebly as Cameroon but Fortaleza has been flooded with Mexican fans, who have almost single-handedly kept sombrero production in business in Monterrey and Guadalajara. 

They probably expected that qualification from their group - something Mexico have achieved at the last five tournaments - would come down to the final match against Croatia but the City of Joy offers them a faint hope of something astonishing.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate