Croatia vs. Mexico – World Cup Match Preview and Prediction to Win – 4 PM Monday June 23, 2014 Arena Pernambuco Recife, Brazil
By Jason, World Cup Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Croatia 2.50 / Mexico 3.00 / Draw 3.40
Moneyline: Croatia +150 / Mexico +200 / Draw +240
Over/Under: 2.5 goals.
It is pretty easy for Croatia, as they need to beat Mexico to advance to the last 16. They are coming off an impressive 4-0 thrashing of Ghana and unless they win their World Cup dreams are over. Mexico has one win and one draw and if this match ends in a draw or they win they will advance to the knockout phase.
Mexico can still advance with a loss, but Cameroon will have to beat Brazil, which is very unlikely.
Can Mexico play another match like they did against Brazil? In that match GK Guillermo Ochoa was sensational making many point black saves and garnering a clean sheet.
Overall, Mexico was solid in the Brazil match not only on defense, but they also pressed the issue on offense with a few great scoring chances. If they can play like they did facing Brazil Croatia is in for a long match.
These 2 teams have faced each other 4 times before with Croatia winning 2 times, Mexico winning once, and one ending in a draw.
Croatia scored 4 goals in the Cameroon match with 21 overall shots and Mario Mandzukic scoring 2 goals. Their offense and midfield seemed to be in sync, especially in the 2nd half, and they need to play like that facing a confident Mexican side.
Luka Modric is the catalyst of the Croatian squad in the midfield and his play will be key in the Mexico match. He is a master at creating scoring chances and Mexico needs to mark him well, especially in the middle of the pitch.
Modric and Ivan Rakitic lead the strength of the Croat side, which is their midfield and with Mexico not afraid to really push forward, which they showed against Brazil, the Mexican defense has to be careful with the counter-attack. However, Mexico may not attack as much in this match and drop back more on defense, as they can advance with a draw.
Mexico has a solid offense and a good attack and while they have had chances they have not capitalized. They only scored 1 goal on Cameroon while the Croats scored 4.
Andres Guardado and Raul Jimenez had great chances to score in the Brazil match and Mexico will have their chances in this one. Still, it is key that they start the attack from the defense and middle of the pitch and the Croatian defense has to be worried about the speed of Mexico down the flanks.
Mexico’s defense will be under attack the whole match since the Croats need to take 3 points with a win. If they can mark star striker Mario Mandzukic and keep Modric from creating chances they will be in good shape.
Croatia Recent Form
3/5/2014 Switzerland 2 Croatia 2 (Friendly)
5/31/2014 Croatia 2 Mali 1 (Friendly)
6/6/2014 Croatia 1 Australia 0 (Friendly)
6/12/2014 Brazil 3 Croatia 1 (World Cup)
6/18/2014 Cameroon 0 Croatia 4 (World Cup)
Mexico Recent Form
5/31/2014 Mexico 3 Ecuador 1 (Friendly)
6/3/2014 Mexico 0 Bosnia-Herzegovina 1 (Friendly)
6/6/2014 Mexico 0 Portugal 1 (Friendly)
6/13/2014 Mexico 1 Cameroon 0 (World Cup)
6/17/2014 Brazil 0 Mexico 0 (World Cup)
Jason’s Prediction to Win: I have to say this one is a tough call and many are picking Mexico to pull off the upset. However, I am not one of those people. Croatia has one of the best midfields in the tournament and they will come up big when they are given scoring chances. Each team will find the back of the net in this big match, but Croatia will take the vital 3 points with a 2-1 win and advance to the round of 16.