Mexico needed a draw against Croatia to make it through to the knockout stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. At the Pernambuco Arena in Recife, Mexico had a great second half and beat Croatia 3-1, securing Group A’s second place, after Brazil.
In the round of 16, Mexico plays the Netherlands, who topped Group B. The match is scheduled for next Sunday (29.06) at 01:00pm at the Castelão Arena in Fortaleza.
The Mexicans actually threatened Brazil for the first place in the group when they went 3-0 up. As Brazil was beating Cameroon 3-1 in Brasilia, had the Mexicans scored once more they would have topped the group. But Croatia pulled one back and Brazil got on the score sheet once more, which meant Mexico went through as the second place team.
After the break, Mexico decided to attack more, looking for the result. While pressuring the Croatians, the Mexicans complained a lot about a controversial decision in the 64th minute. Srna handled the ball in the box, but the referee did not whistle for a penalty.
In the 72nd minute, after a corner centre-back Rafa Márquez jumped more than the Croatian defence and headed into the left corner of the net, opening the score and putting Mexico in the lead.
Six minutes later, Mexico practically put the game beyond the Croatians. Aguilar came down the right and crossed into the box, and Guardado released a powerful shot, making it 2-0 Mexico.
In the 82nd minute, Mexico scored again, an almost carbon copy of the first goal. After a corner, a deflection came off Rafa Márquez and Chicharito Hernández scored. Croatia pulled one back in the 86th minute, with a diagonal shot from Perisic, which goalkeeper Ochoa did not get to. At the end, Mexico beat Croatia 3-1 and are through to the World Cup’s knockout stage.
No audience has made so much noise at the Pernambuco Arena. Despite a goalless first half, the Latin supporters did not stop singing. The Mexicans were an absolute majority in the stadium and with 41,212 fans at the venue recorded the highest audience at the World Cup. As all Mexico games took place in Brazil's northeast region, they used Recife as a base to travel around the country.
In addition to Mexicans and Croatians, Brazilian supporters also came to the stadium. However, attention was also given to Brazil, who was playing Cameroon at the same time. Many were following the Brazil match over the radio or mobile phone, which took place in Brasilia. At each of Brazil's goals, green and yellow celebrations took over the stands.