Croatia Head Coach Niko Kovač describes Group A decider with Mexico as a “final”
Croatia Head Coach Niko Kovač has described Monday’s concluding Group A match against Mexico as a “final.”
El Tri are level on four points with Brazil, while Croatia are one adrift on three. Assuming Brazil avoid defeat against Cameroon, Kovač’s side will have to beat Mexico - who only need a draw - to progress.
Speaking after Croatia’s 4-0 win against Cameroon, Kovač praised Mexico’s spirit and attacking threat, but believes they can be exposed defensively.
"The match against Mexico will be like a final," he told Croatian television station HTV, as reported by FIFA.com. "We have to get some rest, because a serious opponent awaits. Mexico are strong, but so are we.
"The Mexico players are very patriotic, just like us, and they have a great team spirit. They play some aggressive football with a lot of pressing. They are strong going forward, but also have some weaknesses in defence, like Brazil showed us.”
Croatia made easy work of an unimpressive Cameroon side in Manaus. VfL Wolfsburg forward Ivica Olić gave the Vatreni the lead, before Alex Song was dismissed for a senseless elbow on Mario Mandžukić. Olić's club mate Ivan Perišić then doubled Croatia’s advantage just after the break, with Mandžukić adding two more to seal an emphatic victory.