World Cup 2014: Croatia vs Mexico match preview
A look ahead to the Group A qualification decider
Sunday 22 June 2014
Croatia are set to clash with Mexico in what promises to be a very exciting match in Recife as the European side need a win to advance to the Round of 16 whereas the Mexicans are seeking the three points that could see them finish above Brazil should the hosts slip against Cameroon.
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Both teams will enter the field with their confidence sky-high as Mexico managed to get a result against the hosts and World Cup favourites last week thanks to a sensational performance by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. The 28-year-old will definitely be starting under the bar and there is also a great chance that manager Miguel Herrera will add Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez to the mix - the 26-year-old came from the bench in both previous fixtures.
It is all hands on deck for Niko Kovac’s team who seem to have got a huge boost with the addition of their star striker Mario Mandzukic who scored twice against Cameroon last week. The Bayern Munich player will be starting up front in what is likely to be an identical line-up to last time, with captain Darijo Srna, who is also the most capped player in the team, picking up his 116th appearance for the Blazers.
KICK-OFF: Monday, 9pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Croatia 0 Mexico 1 (Blanco), World Cup, June 2002
Croatia 2 (Biscan, Simic) Mexico 1 (Hernandez), International Friendly, June 1999
Croatia 3 (Suker 2, Racunica) Mexico 0, International Friendly, October 1992
Last week’s hero for Mexico Guillermo Ochoa unbelievably enough is a free agent at the moment.
Striker Oribe Peralta has scored nine goals in his last eight official international appearances.
Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic has scored seven headers this past season. This is more than any other player in the top five European leagues.
Croatia won their first World Cup match last week for 12 years.
Croatia to win: 13.8
Mexico to win: 9.5
TV: Live on ITV at 9pm
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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