1st Round Matches at Brazil 2014.
Monday, 23rd June
Croatia vs Mexico in Recife.
In the final Group A matches, Croatia take on Mexico in Recife while Cameroon play Brazil in Brasilia.
Croatia beat Mexico in two previous friendly matches: 3:0 in Zagreb (22/10/1992) and 2:1 in Seoul (16/06/1999) but Mexico won their last World Cup Finals encounter; (1:0) in Niigata, during the Group Stage of Korea-Japan 2002.
A draw would be enough for Mexico to progress to the Second Round.
Mexico's Giovani dos Santos crashed a shot against the bar in the first-half but otherwise there wasn't much to shout about.
Half-time: Croatia 0 - Mexico 1
It took a while coming but the deadlock was finally broken by Mexico's captain, Rafael Marquez.
Three minutes later, Andres Guardado doubled Mexico's lead.
Keep this up and Mexico could top the group; especially as Neymar was taken off, to protect him, in the other game.
Javier Hernandez tried to head Mexico to the top of the group. Soon after he scored here, Brazil scored their fourth in Brasilia.
That's as good as the end for Croatia and Mexico are enjoying themselves.
A consolation goal for Croatia, scored by Ivan Perisic, means Brazil will top the group.
Final Score: Croatia 1 - Mexico 3
0:1 - Rafael Marquez (72 mins)
0:2 - Andres Guardado (75 mins)
0:3 - Javier Hernandez (82 mins)
1:3 - Ivan Perisic (87 mins)
1-Stipe Pletikosa; 11-Darijo Srna, 5-Vedran Corluka, 6-Dejan Lovren, 2-Sime Vrsaljko; 7- Ivan Rakitic, 3-Danijel Pranjic, 4-Ivan Perisic, 10-Luka Modric; 18-Ivica Olic, 17-Mario Mandzukic.
13-Guillermo Ochoa; 22-Paul Aguilar, 2-Francisco Rodriguez, 4-Rafael Marquez, 15-Hector Moreno, 7-Miguel Layun; 6-Hector Herrera, 23-Jose Juan Vazquez, 18- Andres Guardado; 10-Giovani dos Santos, 19-Oribe Peralta.
89 mins - Ante Rebic (Croatia)
3 yellow cards:
8 mins - Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)
38 mins - Rafael Marquez (Mexico)
65 mins - Jose Juan Vazquez (Mexico)
The Road to Rio
World Cup Finals
Uruguay trailed Argentina at half-time (1:2) but replied with three goals in the second half; to win the first ever World Cup Final (4-2) on July 30th, 1930.
Italy were one of the countries who missed out on the vote to host the first World Cup but managed to win the prestigious golden trophy for the home fans.
The third World Cup was held in Europe for a second time, although Germany had annexed Austria, and Spain was in civil turmoil.
Although no cup-final as such, Uruguay and Brazil went into their final game with the winner guaranteed to be champions; a draw would be enough for Brazil.
The fifth World Cup tournament produced a record number of goals, including a 7:5 encounter between Austria and Switzerland in Lausanne.
Brazil presented a 17 year-old Pele to the world; who went on to claim a hat-trick in Brazil's 5:2 semi-final win over France and bag another two in the final.
Czechoslovakia overcame Hungary in the quarter-finals and Yugoslavia in the semis, while Brazil took care of England and the host nation, Chile.
Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick, in the final against West Germany, as England triumphed in a thrilling game watched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
1970 belonged to Pelé, who earned his third World Cup winners' medal when Brazil got their hands on the Jules Rimet Cup.... for keeps.
W. Germany 1974:
Johan Cruyff was the player of the tournament as total football became the buzzword of the day, even though Holland lost to West Germany in the 1974 final.
Holland contested the 1978 World Cup Final, in Argentina, for the second time in a row. As in West Germany, they again finished runners-up; to the hosts.
The Spain 82 World Cup finals increased to 24 teams and the format was changed to have two group stages, with four second-round groups of three.
In 1986, Mexico became the first nation to stage the World Cup Finals for a second time; having only staged the competition sixteen years previously.
In 1990, Italy became the World Cup of stalemates. Both semi-finals were drawn out through penalty kicks. In the final itself, the only goal came from the spot.
Once Team US had played a few games most of the nation began to understand they were hosting the greatest show on earth and how the game was played.
France became the sixth nation to win the World Cup on home soil. Thirty-two teams competed in the 16th World Cup; better known as France 98.
The 17th World Cup, held in Korea and Japan, was the first World Cup finals to be shared by two hosts and the first to be held in Asia.
The 2006 World Cup Finals ran from 9th June to 9th July; the opening match in Munich and the final in Berlin. Munich and Dortmund hosted the semi-finals.
South Africa 2010:
Eighty years after the First World Cup Finals in Uruguay, the world's most prestigious football competition was finally hosted on the African continent.
Five times World Cup Champions, Brazil, get a second chance to hold the prestigious World Cup Finals; 64 years after they last hosted the tournament.
VAR made its World Cup debut and set out to change the course of a game with some crucial rule infringement watching and vital on the spot decisions.
When FIFA executives met in Zurich to decide on who would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals, Qatar was probably the biggest surprise to many.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Finals will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. The United Bid won the hosting rights ahead of Morocco.
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