Japan vs. Mexico: Confederations Cup Preview, Projected Lineups, Predictions

Mikhail TurnerContributor IIIJune 20, 2013

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 19:  Keisuke Honda of Japan looks on during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Japan at Arena Pernambuco on June 19, 2013 in Recife, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Japan and Mexico face off on Saturday in the last game of the group stages in the Confederations Cup.

Neither team has much to play for, as they have both been knocked out of the competition after losing their first two games. Despite similar records, both teams come into the game with different experiences in the competition thus far.

Much more was expected from these sides, with both being the dominant teams in their respective federations, AFC for Japan and CONCACAF for Mexico.

These teams have actually met in the FIFA Confederations Cup before, with Mexico coming out 2-1 victors in the 2005 edition.

Here is a complete preview of the match, with the latest team news and projected lineups.


Japan Team News

Japan were unlucky to face Brazil in their first match after a long trip from Asia. They showed a threat at times during the game, but were completely outmatched in the end.

They played as expected against Italy, and were unfortunate to lose a thrilling game that saw seven goals.

The Asian side will be the more confident side heading into the game and will be favourites as a result. Despite the two losses, major changes in the lineup aren't expected.

Japan Projected Lineup (4-3-2-1): Eiji Kawashima; Atsuto Uchida, Yasuyuki Konno, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Yasuhito Endo; Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa; Ryoichi Maeda


Mexico Team News

Mexico carried their disappointing form in CONCACAF qualifying to this tournament.

A 2-1 loss to Italy suggested the side were much better than they actually were. They were a little bit livelier against Brazil, but still ineffective.

Goals have been hard to come by for this Mexico side, and that's something they'll try to rectify in their last game.

Just like Japan, there won't be major changes to this Mexico side as they look to end the tournament with a win.

Mexico Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1): Jesus Corona; Hiram Mier, Hector Moreno, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido; Gerardo Torrado, Jesus Zavala; Pablo Barrera, Giovani Dos Santos, Andres Guardado; Javier Hernandez 


Players to Watch

Japan: Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda has thrust himself back into the limelight with some solid performances in this competition.

He's scored from the penalty spot, shown his quality on set pieces; and his skill on the ball, as well as his movement, have been great. He'll be looking to put in one more good performance to attract suitors during this transfer window.


Mexico: Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez hasn't been getting service up top, and he's looked frustrated as a result.

His deficiencies making the final pass and dribbling at defenders have been amplified during the two games so far. If he's given good service and a good chance, he has the capability to inflict major damage to Japan.

Prediction: Japan 3-2 Mexico

This game will be an open one, as both teams will be going for the win. That should provide excitement, chances and goals.

Mexico will find their scoring touch, but Japan is the more in-form team at the moment, and they will squeeze out the victory.


*Unless otherwise stated, all statistics courtesy of ESPN FC and FIFA.COM.