After getting a crucial point against the host nation, Mexico come into their game against Croatia only needing a draw to advance. After watching Croatia dismantle Cameroon 4-0 on Wednesday, El Tri know that that was no easy feat.
FOR ALL THE MARBLES: As stated above, if the Mexico get a win or a draw they will advance to the Round of 16. If Croatia are able to pull out a victory, they will advance to the knockout round. Miguel Herrera usually likes to take the game to his opponents, but with El Tri only needing a draw, expect Mexico to sit back and try to counter as Croatia will be starving for goals.
WALL OF MEMO: Guillermo Ochoa had the game of his life against Brazil. After riding the bench in 2006 and 2010, despite being the projected No. 1, Ochoa finally got his chance in this tournament. He has made the most of it so far and there's no reason to believe the hot 'keeper can't keep that up against Croatia.
MANDZUKIC ROARS: Mario Mandzukic, the Bayern Munich striker, returned to the lineup with a bang against Cameroon. After he was forced to miss the game against Brazil, Mandzukic scored two goals (one of them very easily, see below) in his first World Cup game against the Indomitable Lions. His abilities as a target striker were sorely missed against Brazil and his return signaled a new start to the tournament for the Croatians.
FLYING ON THE WINGS: Ivan Perisic and Ivica Olic have been the life blood of Croatia’s attack over the first two games. The two combined for two goals and an assist against Cameroon and were just as dangerous against Brazil despite not getting on the scoresheet. Mexico’s two fullbacks, Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar, like to get into their team’s attack but may have to curb their appetite with Perisic and Olic running in behind them.
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Luka Modric, midfielder, Croatia – The star midfielder has not made an imprint in this World Cup just yet. Don’t expect that to continue as the Real Madrid man is one of the most talented players at his position in the entire tournament.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Hector Herrera, midfielder, Mexico – The 24-year-old was one of Mexico’s best players against Brazil. Not only did he break up several attacks by the hosts, but he was also dangerous on the other end with a handful of dangerous long-range efforts.