Football

Mandzukic will master Ochoa and Mexico - Modric

Croatia's Luka Modric listens during a news conference at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 22, 2014. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

RECIFE, Brazil: Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic has the pedigree to breach Mexico's defense for the first time at this World Cup when the two sides meet in their final Group A game in Recife Monday, team mate Luka Modric said.

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has kept clean sheets against Cameroon and Brazil, but Modric said Croatia's firepower would see that streak end and that his side would get the win they need to progress to the last 16.

"The fact that they have not conceded speaks volumes about their quality, but I'm sure we'll find a way to score," Modric told reporters Sunday. "There's a first time for everything. They've had some luck and a great performance from their goalkeeper.

"All due respect to Ochoa, but he (Mandzukic) has scored against even better keepers. But tomorrow it doesn't matter if he scores or not, what matters is that we achieve our goal."

The Real Madrid midfielder, who made two substitute appearances at the 2006 World Cup, is clearly relishing the chance to help Croatia get out of their group for the first time since 1998.

"In 2006 I was a novice in the national side, I was a support player, today I'm one of the main players of this team," he said.

"I think we are a better team and better individuals than Mexico, and I think we'll show that tomorrow," he said.

"It's a good thing that we have to play to win. That is the only option," Modric added.

Mexico and Brazil have four points in Group A, with the Brazilians on top on goal difference. Croatia are in third on three points with Cameroon already eliminated having lost their first two games.

 

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