Croatia and Mexico both have a chance to advance to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup, as Monday's clash between the two in Recife, Brazil, will in all likelihood decide the matter of second place in Group A.
El Tri beat Cameroon in their opener and went on to draw with Brazil, putting themselves in good position to make it through to the knockout round for the sixth consecutive World Cup, per ESPN:
Mexico has advanced out of Group Play and into Knockout Round in each of last 5 World Cups. They'll advance today w/win & Cameroon win/draw.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2014
Croatia were the victims of some terrible officiating decisions in their opening 3-1 loss to the hosts but rallied to thrash Cameroon 4-0 in their second outing.
Read on for live streaming information as well as a look at the form guide and a prediction as to the outcome of the crucial encounter.
Date: Monday, June 23
Time: 9 p.m. BST, 4 p.m. ET
TV Info: ITV (UK), ESPN (US)
Mexico have turned things around form-wise for the World Cup, having only scraped through qualifying and underperformed in their warm-up games.
They were forced into a playoff with New Zealand after winning just two games in CONCACAF qualifying, but won well over two legs, per Sky Sports:
Mexico breezed into the World Cup after beating New Zealand 4-2 to earn a 9-3 aggregate win. http://t.co/1VVcJkPlKu— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 20, 2013
However, they lost two of their pre-tournament matches against Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina to come into the Brazil competition with poor results behind them.
But they looked good in their win over Cameroon, the 1-0 scoreline unrepresentative of their dominance as two Giovani dos Santos goals were incorrectly ruled out, per 101 Great Goals:
They then performed well to claim a 0-0 draw against Brazil, which means they need just one point to confirm their passage through to the last 16.
The likes of dos Santos and Oribe Peralta provide strength in attack, but defence will be key in the Croatia encounter as a clean sheet will be vital.
Croatia also had to go through a playoff to make it to the World Cup, beating Iceland after finishing second to Belgium in their group.
They beat Mali and Australia in warm-up matches and performed very well against Brazil despite their loss.
What will be the result in Recife?
Mario Mandzukic returned from suspension to score twice in Croatia's victory over Cameroon and they come into the Mexico match with great momentum.
However, they have to win on Monday to advance to the knockout round and will likely come up against a staunch Mexican side simply looking for a result.
The Recife clash is one of the most exciting matches of the World Cup so far with two quality sides clashing in what is essentially a playoff scenario.
Croatia's momentum could be key for them and they should dominate in midfield where they have quality in the shape of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric.
The European side look good to take away the win they need.
Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Mexico