Mexico and Croatia are set to clash in an international friendly at the AT&T Stadium in Texas, USA on Tuesday.
Mexico and Croatia will face off against each other in the United States of America as they continue their preparations for the summer’s FIFA World Cup 2018.
Mexico come into the game on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over Iceland on Friday and are unbeaten in their last four games (3W, 1D). El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio will be hoping that his side carry the momentum into Tuesday’s game and extend their streak to five matches.
Croatia, on the other hand, were handed a 2-0 defeat by South American nation Peru in their previous fixture and the Blazers’ head coach Zlatko Dalic will be keen on masterminding a comeback against Mexico as they look to up the ante ahead of summer’s blockbuster competition.
Team News & Tactics
Having rested a few key players for the game against Iceland, Osorio is likely to make changes to the starting lineup that will take the field against the Croatians at Texas, but is expected to stick to the 3-4-2-1 setup he used in the last game.
In goal, Jesus Corona was unbeatable on Friday against the Icelanders but is likely to make way for the first-choice shot-stopper Guillermo Ochoa. The back three of Hector Moreno, Nestor Araujo and Carlos Salcedo is unlikely to be tinkered with by the manager for Tuesday’s encounter.
Miguel Layun, who grabbed a double in the win against Iceland is expected to line up as the right-sided wing-back while Jesus Gallardo will take up a similar spot on the left-flank. Both the wing-backs will be tasked with providing the width going forward for El Tri, but will need to be remain alert of their defensive responsibilities.
Defender Diego Reyes is once again expected to line up in a holding midfield role, much like he did against Iceland and he will continue to be partnered by captain Andres Guardado.
Hirving Lozano, who was a substitute in the last match, is a definite starter alongside Marco Fabian, who scored a stunning goal on Friday, in the attacking midfield roles on the right and left respectively. Spearheading the attack for Osorio’s side on Tuesday will be the nation’s highest ever goalscorer Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who did not feature against Iceland.
Probable Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Ochoa; Salcedo, Araujo, Moreno; Layun, Reyes, Guardado, Gallardo; Lozano, Fabian; Chicharito
The Blazers will go into the game without a number of their star players who have returned to their clubs following the first friendly game. Those include Luka Modric of Real Madrid, Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic, Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic, AC Milan forward Nikola Kalinic and Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Dalic is likely to set his team up in a 4-3-3 against the Mexicans with Gent goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic set to start between the sticks in Subasic’s absence. Sime Vrsaljko will start at right-back once again for Croatia while Ivan Strinic should once again take the left-back slot with Vedran Corluka and Domagoj Vida set to slot in the centre of the backline.
Mateo Kovacic will line up in the centre of the three man midfield, having not started in the loss against Peru with Napoli’s Marko Rog and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic likely to complete the trio in the centre of the park for the Blazers.
Marko Pjaca is expected to line up on the right-flank replacing Mandzukic who has left the squad, while 24-year Ante Rebic will slot in on the opposite wing. Leading the line for Craotia in Texas will be TSG Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Kalinic, Vrsaljko, Corluka, Vida, Strinic; Rog, Kovacic, Rakitic; Pjaca, Kramaric, Rebic
- The two teams have only met four times in the past, with both winning two games apiece.
- Mexico have lost just once in their last six games – a 2-3 defeat at the hands of Honduras during their World Cup qualifying campaign in October.
- Croatia have won just two of their last six games, drawing two and losing two.
Player to watch
Javier Hernandez (Mexico)
The West Ham United striker did not feature at all in the win over Iceland but is very much likely to take the field at Texas against Croatia on Tuesday.
Hernandez became Mexico’s highest ever goalscorer last year and till date, has 49 goals to his name from 99 fixtures. Chicharito hasn’t been in the best of forms for his club this season but remains El Tri’s most potent threat in attack and will be hoping to make an impact against Croatia.
Mexico 2-1 Croatia
Mexico, after a slow start, were quite impressive in the win against Iceland, whereas Croatian were quite disappointing in their game against Peru. And with a number of their key players not involved, things are going to be difficult for Dalic’s side. As a result, we at the Hard Tackle predict a 2-1 win for El Tri on Tuesday.