Mexico have yet to lose in the World Cup, and they played to an impressive 0-0 draw facing Brazil in their second group match.
Now, they face a Croatian squad that are the slight betting favorite and are motivated to win since they need three points to advance to the round of 16.
Mexico need only to draw to advance to the knockout stage. They still have a chance to get out of the group if they lose to Croatia, but Croatia would need Brazil to lose to Cameroon (as a 20-1 dog), which would top Costa Rica’s upset of Italy as the biggest shock of the tournament.
Oddsmakers tracked by OddsShark.com had Croatia as the World Cup betting favorite in the match at 7-4 with Mexico a slight underdog at 3-2. The draw line was roughly 5-2.
Croatia scored four goals in their thrashing of Cameroon. Mario Mandzukic, who sat out the Brazil match, scored two goals, and Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic chipped in with one apiece. The Croatian offense comes into this match confident but faces a much better defense in Mexico.
Mexico’s defense has not conceded a goal in two matches, and the main reason it has kept a clean sheet in the Brazil match was because goalie Guillermo Ochoa had the match of his life.
The Mexican defense has its work cut out facing a Croat attack that was in form in the Cameroon match and needs a win or it will be going home.
Mexico’s offense is an attacking one, especially on the flanks, even though it has only scored one goal in two group matches.
Giovani dos Santos is the main striker for Mexico, and Croatia’s defense will have to mark him the entire match.
Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic form the strength of Croatia, which is their midfield. Mexico must disrupt their passing in that area of the pitch and keep them from generating too many scoring chances.
The Croats will be pressing the issue on the attack since they need the three points with a win, but they will not get it.
Mexico’s defense will continue to play well, and this match will end in a 0-0 draw with the Mexican squad advancing to the knockout stage.
Mexico vs. Croatia prediction: 0-0 draw
Stats and odds courtesy of Odds Shark.