Published On: Mon, Jun 23rd, 2014

Mexico beats Croatia to advance to the second-round in World Cup

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Márquez, Guardado and Hernández scored in a 10 minute span of the second half, dooming a talented Croatian side to elimination from the group stage.

The Croats had to win to advance and held the bulk of possession, but had trouble seriously threatening goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who kept out all efforts until an 87th-minute goal by Ivan Perisic.

Mexico entered the game needing only a draw, and looked dangerous in attack, but was denied until the three-goal burst. The result gave Mexico a second-place finish behind Brazil in Group A and set up a second-round meeting with Group B winner the Netherlands.

“We overcame the first hurdle. We’re happy,” Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said, adding that the team would dine with their families in Recife later Monday night. “We’re going to celebrate tonight but tomorrow we have to start thinking of our match with the Netherlands.”

Marquez struck first, beating Croatia defender Vedran Corluka to head home Hector Herrera’s corner kick in the 72nd minute. Three minutes later, Guardado found the net with a hard, left-footed, one-time shot after a cross from Oribe Peralta.

Mexico's Rafael Marquez  (4) celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the group A World Cup soccer match between Croatia and Mexico at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Mexico’s Rafael Marquez (4) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the group A World Cup soccer match between Croatia and Mexico at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Then in the 82nd, Hernandez, the popular Manchester United striker who has been a second-half substitute in all three of Mexico’s matches, scored with a header after Herrera’s corner had glanced off the head of Marquez. “Mexico was equal in the first half. We tried to (attack) and left spaces in the second half” declared Croatia’s Head Coach Niko Kovac.

 

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