2014 World Cup Betting: Croatia vs. Mexico Picks & Odds

Richard O'Hagan

Friday, June 20, 2014 11:38 AM UTC

Friday, Jun. 20, 2014 11:38 AM UTC

This game was tabbed by many as being the first genuine knockout match of the tournament, and so it has proved to be. Mexico, with four points from their two games so far, just need a draw to go through. Croatia, on three points, need to win.

Croatia turned in a decent performance when losing to Brazil in the competition’s opening match, arguably being a shoddy refereeing decision away from at least a draw. Mexico, by contrast, held the hosts to a goalless draw on Wednesday. It is their performances against the weakest side in the group, Cameroon, that perhaps give the biggest clue to the current form of the two sides.

Mexico, as they did throughout qualifying, looked rusty and like a side far less than the sum of their parts. Croatia, buoyed by the return of Mario Mandzukic, who was suspended for the opener, thrashed the Africans 4-0 and should, arguably, have scored more against a side who played most of the game with ten men. And although the Mexicans have yet to concede a goal, they’ve also only scored one in 120 minutes of football. Moreover, their draw with Brazil was largely due to a number of brilliant saves by goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, a man whose form is so erratic that he doesn’t even have a club for next season.

Everything here points to a Croatian win, which is currently priced at 2.5 pretty much across the board, with Mexico at 3.0 and the draw – which doesn’t help Croatia, remember – at 3.45 at BetBright.

Given Mexico’s defensive resilience – and, let us be honest, luck – you don’t want to bet on the Croats scoring too many times, so a 1-0 win looks like the best soccer betting pick, at 8.5 with Ladbrokes.

As for the first goalscorer, the favourite is Mandzukic and at 6.5 with PaddyPower he’s still rather keenly priced.

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