Misfiring Fred 'expected Mexico difficulties'

Brazil's misfiring striker Fred claimed no-one should have been surprised by the host nation's failure to score against Mexico.

Mexico held Brazil to a scoreless draw at the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday in Fortaleza with their goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa making a handful of top saves to deny the likes of Neymar, Paulinho and Thiago Silva.

Fred was subbed off in the 68th minute for Jo after a fairly lacklustre performance but the 30-year-old striker claimed it was never going to be easy against Mexico.

"We had expected difficulties," Fred told Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

"(At the 2013) Confederations Cup we won with (a) late goal in a very open game. Today's game was more open and the goal did not come out but we have to congratulate their goalkeeper who produced four miracles."

Fred added: "We are looking for change and improvement to start making goals again."

In the six senior international matches between Brazil and Mexico that preceded Tuesday's fixture, the latter had won three, including a friendly in 2012.

At the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, Brazil needed a stoppage-time strike from Jo to wrap up a 2-0 victory over the CONCACAF nation, while Mexico won the 2012 London Olympics final 2-1 over a Brazilian side featuring Neymar, Thiago Silva and Oscar.

Fred was widely blamed by pundits and on social media for Brazil's scoreless performance and although the Fluminense striker was too often offside, the home team struggled to create a lot of opportunities for their centre forward.

Attacking midfielder Bernard, who replaced Ramires at half-time, claimed Brazil needed to be 'calmer with the ball'.

"I think these are situations (of nervousness in exchanging passes) that happen sometimes," the Shakhtar Donetsk man said.

"We have the ability to be calmer with the ball. It has been like that at the (Confederations) Cup. We found the pass but lacked the finishing touch."

The draw left Brazil and Mexico on four points each heading into their final Group A fixtures against Cameroon and Croatia respectively.

While Cameroon or Croatia could move within a point of Brazil with a win on Wednesday, Bernard insisted a draw was good for the hosts.

"What we made clear in the locker room is that the important thing is to win and the second is not to lose," the 21-year-old said.

"We went into the game knowing that a draw would not be a bad result.