Mexico’s preparation for a difficult 2018 World Cup opener against Germany continues on Tuesday, as they take on Croatia.
El Tri is coming off a 3-0 victory over Iceland on Friday in which Juan Carlos Osorio’s side didn’t come alive until the second half. A pair of second-half strikes from Miguel Layun created separation between El Tri and Iceland, and they gave Mexico a good amount of confidence heading into another test.
Croatia is the third of six European sides El Tri is facing in the buildup to the World Cup, as Osorio and Co. prepare for Germany and Sweden in group play.
Ivan Rakitic headlines the Croatian roster for the clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Zlatko Datic’s squad is full of international experience, with seven players on the roster over 30 caps. However, the one weak spot in the Croatia squad is goalkeeper, where Dominik Livakovic and Lovre Kalinic have 10 international appearances between them.
First-team goalkeeper Danijel Subasic left the squad after falling to Peru on Friday, as did Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic.
Of course, Mexico would’ve loved to see Croatia at full strength, but that makes Mexico favorite given the talent on its roster.
The attacking depth led by Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela should overwhelm the Croatian defense, and that’s before Hirving Lozano, who is in incredible form for PSV Eindhoven, takes the field.
Most of Mexico’s first team for the World Cup opener should feature in some regard on Tuesday, with Andres Guardado, Marco Fabian and Layun being among the plethora of familiar faces.
With the clear advantage in talent, Mexico must earn a result from the contest in order to avoid criticism about its World Cup mettle.
With two months in between Tuesday’s clash with Croatia and the trip that builds up to the World Cup, a loss would be the worst thing possible for Osorio, while a win keeps El Tri moving forward toward Russia.