A second half penalty from Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic propelled Croatia to a 1-0 win over Mexico at the AT&T Stadium on Tuesday.
Croatia coasted home to a 1-0 win over Juan Carlos Osorio’s Mexico side courtesy of a spot kick from Ivan Rakitic, at the AT&T Stadium.
Zlatko Dalic’s side went into the game without a number of star players and had their task cut out against an in-form Mexico team. However, the game was off to a slow start with both teams struggling to carve out clear-cut opportunities.
Just post the hour mark, Mexico substitute Miguel Layun conceded the penalty and Rakitic stepped up to slot home coolly to score what would prove to be the eventual winner for his team. Here’s how we rated the performances of both sets of players from the game.
Guillermo Ochoa: 5.5/10
Returning to the starting XI in place of Jesus Corona, Mexico’s No.1 had very little to do in the goal apart from picking up the ball from the net after conceding the penalty.
Nestor Araujo: N/A
The defender’s game was brought to a premature halt due to a knee injury just 16 minutes into the game. It will come as a big blow for El Tri with the World Cup just three months away.
Hugo Ayala: 6/10
Handed a start after missing out in the last game, Ayala was fairly solid at the back against the initial burst of attack from Croatia in the first period.
Hector Moreno: 6/10
Won his share of headers at the back and made a few blocks. Created an opportunity for Carlos Vela with a long ball, but the striker spurned the chance.
Jorge Hernandez: 5/10
Had a shot from outside the box blocked late in the game. Did little of note other than that one moment.
Omar Govea: 5/10
The defensive midfielder had a quiet outing before being taken off at half-time to be replaced by Jesus Molina.
Andres Guardado: 6/10
The El Tri captain put up a fight in the middle of the park and did well to stifle Croatia for an hour, before being subbed off. Set up a chance for Hirving Lozano that was saved.
Rodolfo Pizzarro: 5.5/10
Showed good attacking intent going forward from the wing-back position and created a couple of decent chances for his teammates. Subbed off for Layun at the break.
Carlos Vela: 6.5/10
Was a bright spot in attack for the Mexicans. Created several opportunities for his teammates who failed to make them count. Had a great chance to open the scoring in the 53rd minute, but spurned the opportunity.
Javier Hernandez: 4.5/10
Handed a start after missing out in the last game, Chicharito, making his 100th appearance for Mexico, failed to make any sort of impact on the game.
Hirving Lozano: 6.5/10
Another positive for Mexico from the loss, the PSV Eindhoven attacker caused plenty of problems for the Croatian backline. Had a couple of chances to score, but failed to convert.
Lovre Kalinic: 6/10
Made a couple of decent stops in the second half to keep his side on the front foot. Solid display in the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Sime Vrsaljko: 4/10
Taken off just 35 minutes into the game for Tin Jedvaj.
Vedran Corluka: 6/10
Headed over the bar from an Ivan Rakitic cross in the first period. Solid at the back, before being taken off with 15 minutes left.
Domagoj Vida: 6/10
Failed to find the target from two headed efforts at goal on either side of half-time. Managed to deal with the threat of Chicharito fairly comfortably.
Josip Pivaric: 6/10
Was an influential outlet going down the left-flank. Had a long range effort from a difficult angle saved in the 39th minute.
Ivan Rakitic: 8/10
The hero of the day for Croatia, Rakitic won the game for them with a calmly slotted penalty just post the hour mark. Steady presence in the middle of the park as well.
Milan Badelj: 5/10
Gave away a couple of silly fouls in midfield, before being taken off at half-time due to an injury problem.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
The Real Madrid midfielder was a creative influence for the Blazers in attack. Created plenty of chances for his teammates and was sound in his defensive duties.
Ante Rebic: 6.5/10
Had a couple of efforts saved very early in the game. Continued to cause issues to the Mexican backline without being able to find a breakthrough.
Andrej Kramaric: 5/10
Missed a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 12th minute, after being set up by Rakitic. Did little of note other than that in the rest of the game.
Marko Pjaca: 5.5/10
Created a couple of chances and was involved in a few good moves in the first period without standing out particularly. Subbed off at the hour mark.