MATCH CENTRE

MON 23 JUNE 2014, 22:00, ARENA PERNAMBUCO

1
VS
3

Mexico join Brazil in Last 16

by Neil Greig

Tue June 24, 00:17

A convincing 3-1 win over Croatia with goals from Marquez, Guardado and Hernandez put Mexico into the World Cup Last 16 along with Brazil from Group A.

The match in Recife took a while to get going but once the first goal was scored, the floodgates opened and it was the Mexicans who stole the show as Croatia struggled to keep up in the dying minutes of the contest.

Mexico will now face the Netherlands in the next round, a team that has been in superb form winning all three of their group games convincingly.

Second-half goals from Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez sealed the impressive victory for Mexico over Niko Kovac's men, despite Ivan Perisic's late strike.

The encounter's first chance saw Perisic blaze Ivan Rakitic's right-wing cross over in the fifth minute, but Mexico went close just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark as Herrera struck the crossbar with a fierce effort from 30 yards.

Mexico went close again just a few moments later as Giovani dos Santos slipped a clever pass into the danger area for Oribe Peralta, but the Club America forward lost his footing while pulling the trigger.

The best opportunity Kovac's men could muster was a 31st-minute half-volley from Perisic, which comfortably cleared the bar from just outside the area. Despite some tactical tweaking from Kovac at the break, with Luka Modric seemingly taking up a more advanced position, Croatia's lack of creative spark was not remedied.

Srna luckily escaped conceding a penalty in the 65th minute as he appeared to block a Guardado shot with his arms, but it all went wrong for Croatia soon after.

Marquez gave Mexico a deserved lead with 72 minutes on the clock, nodding in Herrera's corner. Then Mexico sprang an incisive breakaway and, after receiving a squared pass from substitute Chicharito, Peralta set up Guardado for an easy finish inside the area.

Mexico gave the scoreline a more resounding look in the 82nd minute as Marquez flicked on a cross and Chicharito was on hand to nod in from close range.

Perisic got Croatia on the scoresheet with a clever finish from an acute angle, but Rebic ended any hopes of an improbable comeback with a callous challenge on Carlos Pena, earning a straight red as the European side go home early.

MATCH STATISTICS
MATCH VENUE REFEREE
GROUP STAGE ARENA PERNAMBUCO
CROATIA GOALS MEXICO GOALS
4. Ivan Perisic (87') 4. Rafael Marquez (72')
18. Andres Guardado (75')
14. Javier Hernandez (82')
CAUTIONS DISMISSALS CAUTIONS DISMISSALS
1 1 2
CROATIA STARTING LINEUP MEXICO STARTING LINEUP
Goalkeeper
1
Goalkeeper
13
Defender
74'
3
Defender
75'
84'
18
Defender
11
2
Defender
6
Defender
15
Defender
58'
2
Defender
7
Defender
5
Defender
22
Midfielder
87'
4
Defender
39'
72'
4
Midfielder
9'
7
Midfielder
6
Midfielder
10
Midfielder
66'
23
Forward/Striker
69'
18
Forward/Striker
62'
10
Forward/Striker
17
Forward/Striker
79'
19
SUBSTITUTIONS
Mateo Kovacic
Midfielder
58'
20
Javier Hernandez
Forward/Striker
62'
14
Ante Rebic
Forward/Striker
69'
16
Carlos Pena
Midfielder
79'
21
Nikica Jelavic
Forward/Striker
74'
9
Marco Fabian
Midfielder
84'
8
CARDS
Ante Rebic
Forward/Striker
89'
16
Rafael Marquez
Defender
39'
4
Ivan Rakitic
Midfielder
9'
7
Jose Vazquez
Midfielder
66'
23
KEY
Goal
Penalty Missed
Yellow Card
Substitute IN
Own Goal
Penalty Shootout Goal
Yellow / Red Card
Substitute OUT
Penalty
Penalty Shootout Miss
Red Card
Injury
COMMENTS
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