The final set of FIFA World Cup 2014 group games is upon us—where on earth did the time go?
Here we analyse Croatia vs. Mexico, with serious qualification ramifications occurring no matter the result.
Croatia's thumping 4-0 win over Cameroon was dampened only by the fact that Mexico managed a draw against Brazil on the same day, as it leaves the Vatreni requiring a win over El Tri to qualify from Group A.
Mario Mandzukic re-entered the XI and starred, but it was Ivan Perisic who stole the show with an immense display of pace, crossing and finishing finesse.
Who Niko Kovac deploys in the No. 10 role will be of interest to everyone, with heavy rotation already occurring as the boss searches for a permanent solution.
They'll continue with the 4-2-3-1 formation and most positions are picked, but there's a few who'll have been on tenterhooks in training this past week.
Mexico need only a draw to progress to the knockout stages, but they won't play it cool.
Most other sides would sit off and counter-attack, playing on the fact that Croatia need a victory to progress, but Miguel Herrera doesn't understand the philosophy of defence, instead preferring to simply score a second goal.
Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar will continue to fly forward, Giovani dos Santos will roam and Oribe Peralta, hopefully, will shine up front.
El Tri never disappoint the neutrals, and this occasion will be no different.
2 Tactical Clashes
1. High Pressure
Juan Vazquez has turned out to be a key player for Mexico, as in the same fashion as Marcelo Diaz has become vital to Chile, as the Leon defensive midfielder brings the ball forward and covers a lot of ground.
Cameroon put no pressure on him and he killed them, whereas Brazil only paid partial attention to him and he became the conduit for many linear attacks.
Croatia used Sammir as a defensive, physical No. 10 against Cameroon and could easily ask him to keep tabs early on.
2. Olic and Perisic Behind the Wing-Backs
Mexico has shown up defensively so far, and while it may be odd to question the back line of a team that is yet to concede a goal, Croatia's wide men are in fine form.
Ivica Olic and Perisic have been two of—if not the two—the best players for the Vatreni thus far, and feeding Perisic early in the channels was a feature of their win over the Indomitable Lions.
The big concern is getting in behind Aguilar and squaring Francisco Rodriguez one vs. one.
Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.
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