Croatia’s hopes were crushed in a ten-minute spell in the second half. Mexico captain Rafael Marquez opened the scoring with a header in the 72nd minute, before a Andres Guardado strike after a quick counterattack three minutes later gave Mexico a two-goal lead. Javier Hernandez made it 3:0 after another successful Mexico corner, only for Ivan Perišić to score a consolation goal in the 87th minute.
“I want to congratulate Mexico, they were better than us. Set pieces were the difference, which were meant to be our strength, and then we concede two goals from corners. With the formation 4-1-4-1 and Pranjić in the midfield, I wanted to annul the problems that we had in the previous matches on the left side. Why did we drop in the second half? I do not know exactly, maybe we dropped physically, but a lot of credit goes to Mexico, they were really great. I know that now everybody is wondering why Modrić and Rakitic played as defensive midfielders, but that was my decision, in the first two games that looked good …. ” said coach Niko Kovač after the game.
“What we wanted to do, we achieved, and I dedicate this victory to the Mexican people. Croatia is a good team and they are a difficult opponent, but we did not crack under pressure. We talked on the field and my guys did everything I asked of them. This is one of the happiest days of his career, but I suspect there will be more,” said Mexico’s happy coach Miguel Herrera after the match.
Cameroon’s loss to Brazil tonight means that all sides who have played in the jungle in Manaus, have lost their following match (Italy, England, Croatia, Cameroon). (pic Drago Sopta / HNS)