Mexico showed us why they deserve to be in the World Cup as they defeated a Croatia side that were strong before this match. Even with five defenders, the Mexicans managed to overwhelm the Croatians with their physicality, crisp passing ability, counters and firepower in front of frame. All they needed was a point to advance, but they took no chances as they dominated the goal front.
The final score of the match was 3-1, and it reflected the game perfectly as the winners created plenty of opportunities whereas the losers created very few. The 5-3-2 allowed this team to cause problems for Croatia offensively which enabled them to take possession and push up on the counter with numbers. This game plan has worked wonders for Mexico as they did not allow the Croatians time to breath.
Now, Mexico will face the Netherlands in a mouthwatering clash this Sunday in the Round of 16. This will be their toughest game as of yet, but they do have the players needed to keep the Dutch cool on the counter and even building up. In addition, going forward will not be too difficult as they always seem to calmly push up with reinforcements which will cause problems.
Croatia have exited as the third-placed nation in their last three competitive tournaments. What they need to do is change their formation and bring in much younger guys to replace the older ones who simply do not have enough gas left in the tank. They need hungry and calm players who can make this team better than they were this year. They will still have to rely on Luka Modric and Ivan Raktic in the midfield, but defensively they need help big time.