By Jack Tarrant
SAMARA, Russia (Reuters) - Mexico boss Juan Carlos Osorio believes the way to take on Brazil, whom he labelled the “best team in the world”, in the last 16 of the World Cup is for his side to adhere to their attacking philosophy.
The two nations meet in Samara on Monday with Mexico looking to replicate the performance that saw them defeat holders Germany in the group stage.
However, they will be up against a team with an embarrassment of riches, including Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Thiago Silva and Gabriel Jesus.
“Brazil is a great team. I would go as far as to say it is the best team in the world,” Osorio told reporters on Sunday.
“Each and every one of their players can control the ball and pass the ball very well. They behave like a unit.
“This will be a great opportunity for Mexican football to face the best team on the planet and we will have to play to our full potential.”
Osorio believes the best way to counter the Brazilian threat is through Mexico’s own offensive tactics.
“I think that defending with an odd number of defenders and wing backs is an option but our footballing style has to do more with creating defensive problems in the opposition line,” he said.
“So we never give up on attacking. Regardless of the structure we will have tomorrow we will always have a line-up with five attacking players. Or four pure attackers and two false nines like Hector (Herrera).
“All our midfield players are capable of attacking and creating opportunities.”
Midfielder Herrera is one of a number of Mexican players who were in the team that beat a Brazil side containing Neymar and Silva in the final to win gold at the 2012 Olympics.
He said he had fond memories of that tournament but was now dreaming of winning the World Cup.
“If we want to be able to dream about winning the World Cup we have to be able to beat any opponent,” said the Porto player.
“For me personally I have complete faith in myself and my team mates. We will need to play an amazing game tomorrow and continue to live the dream.”
Osorio spoke passionately about the nature of soccer always giving the underdogs a chance in any game, no matter how illustrious the opponents.
He will be hoping his eloquent vision comes to fruition against five-times World Cup winners Brazil on Monday.
“Soccer as a game always gives you an opportunity to win. Collectively, it is the sport that gives the team with less history a chance because of the low scoring,” said Osorio.
“It is not basketball or rugby or baseball because their scores are so high you can always anticipate who is the winner.
“In soccer, you just need to score one and then defend and with that goal you can win. Football gives this type of surprise to people who don’t understand it.
“The winning attitude of anyone can be decisive and win games.”
(Editing by Clare Fallon)