1.- Croatian manager Niko Kovac got on my nerves; so did Luca Modric. If this was what they set out to do, then I’m disappointed. The Mexican National Team grows on motivation both in and out of the pitch; the team is glued together by how the media belittles them. It bothers the fans, but Miguel Herrera loves it. No matter how you see it, the Croatian side made the mistake of adding fuel to the fire. A simple miscalculation made before facing a team with history and better share of experience than them. They are a young nation that recently attained independence. In perspective, Mexico has been in the top sixteen in the world since 1994. This can turn ugly for the Croats.
2.- In their pride we find weakness. The fact that Mexico has set goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa as the example to follow, could be something that can easily backfire. Goalkeepers are, after all, the last man standing. Nature implies that one day he will fall and simply be replaced by the next best man. And the media are greatly enjoying this prospect. Niko Kovac said it, he talked about Ochoa and attributing Mexico’s success to luck, something that angers the Mexican fans but can’t be denied. The Croats throw roses at the goalkeepers feet and even forget Chicharito, the only Mexican player they knew before the World Cup. A strength that is also their weakness. We are Achilles’s alter ego, our heel is strong, but the rest can fall apart.
3.- Mexico has greater chances than before. Not because the toughest challenge on paper is behind us, but because strategy and determination are overcoming individual skill. Yes, Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez have individually changed the outcome of games, but matches aren't won on the pitch but off it. Strengthening the bench is key, especially when technology can expose and break a team from the inside out. Soccer has given way to the means of innovation and has spreads the field to the incumbent teams. México, USA, Iran and even Costa Rica have had their say on this manner.
4.- Player growth and maturity will come into question. If the pregame speech is to go out attacking, the player knows that all they need is a draw. Mexico needs to be careful of this fact and be aware that the Croatian side is waiting for them to drop their guard. The tie against Brazil, as opposed to what Kovac and Modric think, was not a product of luck, I attain it to the inspiration of Guillermo Ochoa. The score was a goalless tie, but those who lived it felt like they were on a roller coaster. Pulling this stunt on us in a qualifying match would certainly be credited for a number of heart attacks south of the border.
5.- Tomorrow will be a day to celebrate. I am certain of it. The Croatian offense is loaded with big names, but after seeing them in the pre game interviews, I am certain they will end up arguing with the ref and handing out cheap shots to the Mexican side. They have a short fuse. You could feel it in the press conference and I’m sure we will see it on the pitch. Mexico will win, they will play their game and allow the ball to do the talking. Something the Croatian side needs to learn.