Crunch time in group A as Croatia go into a Mexican standoff to qualify, presumably alongside Brazil. A draw is good enough for Mexico, so you would expect them to be reasonably cautious, and the opposite with Croatia. Both teams have performed well, with Mexico basing their success on defending – with two clean sheets, and Kovac’s side relying more on their attacking prowess in their 4-0 thumping of Cameroon. The Mexicans will rely on work-rate and discipline to close off the space the Modric and Rakitic need to operate in midfield, but they are two of the best at operating in tight spaces and working the ball around. Although set up to be a close encounter, you would expect Croatia with the talent of their squad to be able to break the deadlock at some point. I would back Draw/Croatia in ht/ft @11/2, purely because I think it will take a while for Croatia to build up enough chances and break down their opponents. Mandzukic should have the ability to get goals from crosses and set pieces if necessary, and they have some world class deliverers in the side.
In what should be a close game, I would either gamble on a draw or a Croatia win – in this instance I think Croatia will have slightly more quality – therefore Croatia to win 1-0,2-0, or 2-1 is @5/2 on SkyBet, which seems the way to go. Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11 would be another option to consider, but this doesn’t offer great value – if there is an early goal, both teams could start chasing the game quickly. Due to Croatia’s ability to create opportunities, their aerial threat of Mandzukic and their need to win the game, I’m going with Croatia most corners @evens. They had 7 corners in their game vs Cameroon and Mexico only had 3 against Brazil and only 2 in their win over Cameroon. I can’t understand why the corner handicap is at scratch – seems like very good value on Croatia.