Mexico coach Miguel Herrera during the World Cup game against Cameroon
USA Today Sports

World Cup: Croatia, Mexico engage in some serious trash-talking before decisive Group A match

As if the stakes didn't already fill Monday's do-or-die Mexico vs. Croatia World Cup clash with intrigue, Croatia star midfielder Luka Modric just upped the ante.

With some classic pre-game trash talking.

"I think if there's someone who's knees should be shaking in this moment, it's them and not us," Modric said of the Mexican side in the pregame press conference on Sunday. “I think Croatia is a better team than Mexico, and player for player we have better individuals than Mexico and we will show that tomorrow."

But wait a minute, Luka. Mexico have superstar 'keeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa who'll stop everything that comes his way.

"He had a lot of luck and he had a great game vs. Brazil but we'll make sure that this doesn't happen again on Monday," Modric said. “With full respect to Ochoa, [Mario] Mandzukic has scored on better 'keepers than him."

How about the crowd factor? Mexico have had thousands of fans at the stadium and will probably outnumber Croatians at the Arena Pernambuco on Monday (4 pm ET, ESPN).

"I don't see it as an advantage for them," Modric said. "We've played against in front of these types of crowds plenty of times in the past and it was never an obstacle. It motivates us to disappoint them and make our fans happy."

After Modric and Croatia head coach Niko Kovac, it was Mexico's turn to face the cameras and while manager Miguel Herrera tried to hold back -- "Here sitting down we can say 20,000 things, but the important thing is to show it on the field" -- he still had his go.

"Whether we had luck or not in our draw against Brazil, we did it. But [Croatia] couldn't do it. They lost," said Herrera, who also announced he's keeping the same lineup for the third match in a row. "Mexico hasn't given up a goal, we've played well and we haven't had the support of referees like [Croatia] did against Cameroon," in reference to Alex Song's red card.

"On the field we're going to fight to the death. We're going to get stuck in so that they know that Mexico can also be feisty," Herrera continued. "These words motivate me and tomorrow in a packed stadium the fans are going to make themselves felt."

And after the media heard what he had to say, Herrera made sure to let the fans know as well via Twitter.

"Tomorrow we have to make sure that the Mexican national anthem is heard like never before, so that the Croats know from that moment who we are."

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