El Tri magically ended its goal drought against Croatia in dramatic fashion, to book its place in the round of 16 for the 6th consecutive time in a World Cup.
El Tri has consistently qualified to the round of 16 of the World Cup since 1994; Brazil 2014 will be no exception.
A goal in the 72nd minute from Mexico captain Rafael Marquez opened the flood gates, as El Tri became possessed in attack. In the span of 10 minutes Mexico was able to score three consecutive times to ensure its qualification to the next round with a 3-1 victory. A goal a piece from Andres Guardado and Javier Hernandez sealed Croatia’s fate and Mexico’s date with the Netherlands Sunday.
The game was extremely tight for much of the match. Croatia did well to pressure El Tri in attack, but it seemed only a matter of time before El Tri found the goal it needed to calm nerves, and open up the game.
A late goal from Ivan Perisic was consolation for a torn Croatian crowd, that was heart broken to see their teams exit from the tournament.
Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic were kept pacified leaving Croatia with little to no options to find the goal it needed.
The resurgence of goals is a sigh of relief for Mexican fans that dreaded the idea of advancing to the next round with just one goal in three games. Keeping in mind that there opponent for the round of 16 is non other than the “Naranja Mecanica”, or the “Orange Machine”, a team that already has 10 goals in the tournament, and is possibly one of the favorites to make it to the final, if not take it all. The spark of goals against Croatia is a huge boost of confidence for El Tri, who only seemed to lack that final finish to get them on the board.
Now, El Tri is reunited with a familiar foe, no, not the Netherlands, but the dreaded round of 16. The round of 16 is a place of nostalgia and heart break for El Tri.
In the 1994 United States World Cup Mexico fell in penalty kicks to Bulgaria; In France 1998 Germany defeated Mexico 2-1 to send El Tri packing; In Korea/Japan 2002 the United States eliminated El Tri in its famous dos a cero victory, and in 2006, and 2010 Argentina kissed Mexico goodbye from Germany and South Africa.
Will history repeat? or is it finally time for Mexico to alter its World Cup destiny.