As voted by you guys, here is #3 in the top 5 most memorable moments of 2014 in Mexican soccer.
#3 Mexico vs. Croatia
From the start, Mexico vs. Croatia was always going to be the deciding game in Group A of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. With the hosts, Brazil, almost guaranteed a place in the round of 16, Mexico only needed a draw to go through against Croatia.
Before the game, the Croatians were confident. Modric took it a step further and said, “We are a better team and we have better individuals than Mexico.”
About Mexico’s hero in the previous game against Brazil, Modric explained, “With all due respect to Ochoa, Mandzukic has scored against better goalkeepers than him.”
On June 23, 2014 in the Arena Pernambuco of Recife, the stage was set. You wouldn’t had known you were in Brazil with the amount of Mexico fans in the stands.
The first half was nervy and a battle in the midfield, but both teams certainly had their approaches at goal.
In the second half, it became more clear that Croatia needed to go for the winner. The first goal arrived, but it wasn’t for the Croatians, it was for Mexico. In the 72nd minute, Rafa Marquez played hero and headed in a corner from Hector Herrera to put Mexico up 1-0. Miguel Herrera’s crazy celebrating became internationally recognized, but most importantly, Mexico was minutes away from the round of 16.
Three minutes later, Guardado scored a second. Then a tear-filled Chicharito added a third to put the icing on the cake.
Ivan Perisic scored for Croatia and Ante Rebic saw red, but those were just things to put in the stat sheet at the end of the game.
With “Cielito Lindo” playing the background, Mandzukic couldn’t score, and Mexico had the better individuals and better team. It was a memorable moment for all the right reasons. With no knowledge of what Mexico would encounter just days later, it was time to celebrate. At least for a day, Mexico felt like they could beat anybody in the world.