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given and he was utilised off the bench in their recent friendly defeat by Portugal.

opponents should be worried about our presence in it. One thing is for

given and he was utilised off the bench in their recent friendly defeat by Portugal.

After a frustrating campaign with Manchester United, striker Javier Hernandez’s place in the Mexico side is no longer a given and he was utilised off the bench in their recent friendly defeat by Portugal.

Hernandez, who managed just six Premier League appearances last season, Nike Mercurial Superfly III said: "I’ve never taken a sure place for granted, not even if it’s in the reserves. In no way do I feel like a first-choice player. But I never try to settle for what I have.

Opta stats:

Mexico have never beaten at African team at a World Cup Finals tournament, losing one and drawing two of their three meetings against sides from that continent so far.
Cameroon’s 17 previous World Cup goals have all been scored from inside the area (15 from open play, two penalties).
Mexico have lost more games than any other team at World Nike Bomba Finale 2 Cup Finals (24).
"Obviously, every footballer would like to play and if I get the chance I’ll kill myself on the pitch because I fought all these years to be at the World Cup."

Much like their first opponents in Natal, Mexico’s tournament best is reaching the quarter-finals, although their record of progressing through the group stages is Nike Mercurial Superfly IV impressive having managed do so in all of their previous five World Cup appearances.

Their qualification to reach this World Cup was somewhat laboured, though, as they needed an Intercontinental play-off win over New Zealand to secure their place in Brazil.

Manager Miguel Herrera was appointed ahead of that tie, with Cameroon only his third competitive opponents since taking the job, and he managed to allay any fears of Mexico missing out on the finals for the first time since 1990 as he picked a side consisting purely of home-grown players.

Cameroon arrived in Brazil later than initially scheduled as players refused to travel following a row over bonus payments, but that has since been resolved and Volker Finke is now looking to defy the odds and his side’s dismal record in recent years.

A quarter-final appearance at Italia 90 remains Cameroon’s best performance in the competition as the Indomitable Lions have failed to live up to their nickname in recent outings, winning just once in all of the four World Cup tournaments they have since qualified for.

With the bonus dispute rumbling on in the background and with some reports going as far as suggesting that Cameroon may have pulled out of their Brazil appearance, preparations for the tournament have been a mixed bag.

They suffered a 2-1 defeat to Paraguay in their opening warm-up fixture before holding Germany to a 2-2 draw in Berlin and then edging past Moldova with a 1-0 win at their own Stade Omnisport.

The two sides have only met on one previous occasion, with Mexico 1-0 winners in Los Angeles back in 1993.

Should Hernandez, who is Mexico’s joint third-highest goalscorer of all time, start on the bench once again, then former Spurs man Giovani dos Santos could continue in attack alongside Oribe Peralta or Raul Jimenez.

Goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona had an injury scare in Mexico’s 3-0 friendly win over Israel after a heavy blow to the face resulted in him being stretchered off, but he made his return against Portugal and looks likely to start in goal.

Cameroon have a number of high-profile stars among their ranks and captain Samuel Eto’o is expected to lead the line, although Kaiserslauten striker Mohammadou Idrissou was omitted from the squad as Finke whittle his selection down to 23 players.

Barcelona’s Alex Song, Tottenham’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Stephane Mbia, who is on loan at Sevilla from QPR, are among those that boast a wealth Nike Hypervenom Phatal FG of experience at the highest level which Cameroon will need if they are to cause an upset.

Paul Merson’s prediction:

Cameroon or Mexico haven’t been on my radar much, which makes this game hard to predict, but both have strikers we know well.

Mexico have Manchester United's Javier Hernandez and former Spurs player Giovani dos Santos, while Cameroon have Samuel Eto’o – so there could well be goals.


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Carlo Ancelotti has called on the Italian team to believe in their chances of winning the World Cup, even though Cesare Prandelli's side go into the tournament in unconvincing form. Confidence in the Italy camp is low as a result Nike CTR360 Maestri III FG of their pre-tournament preparations, drawing with Ireland and Luxemburg and failing to convince despite beating Brazilian club side Fluminese 5-3. However, the Real Madrid coach urged the four-time World Cup winners to pull in the same direction and take inspiration from his Nike Mercurial Soccer Cleats Madrid side that won the Soccer Cleats for sale Champions League last season. "When you take part in a World Cup there is always a lot of excitement and tension and everyone needs to chip in if you want to achieve something big," said Ancelotti in a letter published in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "However, people are sceptical about our chances, and do not believe in us. Well, I can guarantee that if the team and the coaching staff stay united and all read from the same page, then the atmosphere will become more favourable, and results are Nike Mercurial for sale more likely to go our way. "That is how Real Madrid won the Champions League. That's why now it's important to encourage Italians to get behind our lads." The Italian admitted that Prandelli's side are far from being the tournament favourites, but also pointed out Italy were unfancied before the victorious World Cups of 1982 and 2006. Italy begin their campaign against England in the stifling conditions of Amazonian city Manaus, before facing Costa Rica and then Uruguay. "We are in a difficult group," admitted Ancelotti, "but our opponents should be worried about our presence in it. One thing is for certain, facing Italy is difficult for every team. We are a strong team tactically, we are experienced and we have players that can make the difference."

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