Brazil and Mexico faced off a year ago in the Castelão Arena, in Fortaleza, for the Confederations Cup. The win by 2-0 (two goals by Neymar) sealed Brazil's classification for the second phase of the competition. Now the scenario is repeated, but the stakes are that much higher. This Tuesday (17 June), Brazilians and Mexicans duel at 4 PM, once again in Fortaleza, for the second round of Group A of the World Cup. Whoever wins grabs leadership of the group and virtually ensures a spot in the round of sixteen.
“Mexico brings a lot of attitude to the game whenever it plays Brazil. It will be a close match. Both teams play with the ball on the ground and move around fast. But we know that a win will leave us in a very comfortable situation," said coach Luiz Felipe Scolari during a press conference this Monday.
Defender Thiago Silva emphasised the speed of the Mexican attack and called for close attention to their movements. “They have many quality players, like Giovanni dos Santos and Peralta. I have faced them several times before, including in the final of the Olympics (2012) and [at the Confederations Cup] last year. We are studying their moves to hinder their offensive action," said the captain of the Brazilian national team.
The only issue for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to solve before the match against the Mexicans is in the attack: Hulk has felt thigh pains and will be reassessed for fitness before the match. If the attacker is unable to join the match, the most likely choice is for Scolari to go with midfielder Ramires in his stead. William and Bernard are also viable candidates for the spot.
Coach Miguel Herrera will maintain the same squad that defeated Cameroon in the first round of the World Cup. Giovanni dos Santos and Peralta remain as the team's attack front. Star player "Chicharito" Hernandez, currently playing for Manchester United, will be kept on the bench.
For the match, Herrera dismissed the notion of individually targeting striker Neymar and praised midfielder Oscar. “There will be no man-to-man marking on Neymar. Oscar did an extraordinary match on Brazil's first match. His style impressed me at Chelsea and continues to impress me at the Brazilian national team," he said.
To get to the arena, fans will have 300 free buses leaving from seven parking areas in Fortaleza - four of which are located in shopping centres (Iguatemi, Via Sul, Parangaba and Jóquei), with three remaining ones at the Pici Campus of the UFC, Cambeba and Unifor. In addition, special bus lines depart from the Pinto Martins International Airport and the Abolição Avenue, with six stops between the Barão de Studart Avenue and the "Via Expressa" (Expressway). The hotel zone (alongside the Beira-Mar Avenue) will also be served with two bus lines delivering passengers to the Iguatemi parking area.
Upon arrival at the stadium, there will be ten minibuses to take mobility-impaired fans inside the Castelão Arena. For the way back from the stadium, supporters will board the buses on the same places where they disembarked. The buses will follow the same route used in the way in to get back to the respective parking areas, so fans must mind the respective itinerary numbers (displayed on the buses).
The express bus lines to the stadium will start working at 10 am and stop operating four hours after the end of the match.
Fortaleza inaugurated three important construction works that facilitate access to the Castelão Arena in June 2014. With investments of R$ 38.4 million, the roundabout and the tunnel built in front of the stadium allow for the interconnection of avenues Pauline Rocha, Alberto Craveiro, Silas Munguba and Juscelino Kubitschek.
Of those, avenues Paulino Rocha and Alberto Craveiro, which were also cleared for vehicular traffic, received R$ 19.5 million and R$ 28.6 million in investments (respectively). They will be used as parking for the buses before they take passengers to the above-mentioned parking areas during the day.
Safety and Security
The Castelão Arena will be monitored by the Event Policing and Riot Battalions of the Ceará State Police. The police officers will operate safety containment at the Vehicular Checkpoints (PVVs), deployed about one kilometre away from the field. The stadium will also rely on the Supporter Precinct (special police stations created to serve supporters) and the Special Court to respond to any emergency events. In all, over 7,000 safety and security officers will be working in Fortaleza during the World Cup.