Croatian players and coaches are supremely confident that they will get a win against Mexico and advance to the knockout round of the World Cup.
With Brazil leading Group A on goal difference and playing Cameroon — the worst team in the tournament so far — it’s a near certainty that only one of Croatia or Mexico will advance.
Mexico advances with a tie or a win. Croatia needs a win.
Judging by the quotes from the Croatians in the days before the game, they’re pretty sure they’re going to get that win.
Coach Niko Kovac on Mexico’s goalie, Memo Ochoa (via Goal):
“Ochoa is a great goalkeeper, but we have good forwards who will be a menace for him. If anyone have their knees shaking, it’s Mexico.”
Midfielder Luka Modric on Ochoa (via NYT):
“With all due respect to Ochoa, [Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic] scored against even better goalkeepers. The fact that they have not conceded speaks volumes about their quality. But I’m sure we will find a way to score.”
Modric on why his team is going to win (via NYT):
“I think that we are a better team, and better individuals, than Mexico and that we will show that tomorrow. I think it is a good thing that we have to play to win.”
Kovac on the game (via Goal):
“We will enjoy our football tomorrow. Mexico have played very well since Miguel Herrera took charge, but we have a formula for them, although I’m not going to reveal it yet.”
Nate Silver gives Mexico a 61% chance to advance and Croatia a 39% chance.
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