You can read how another action-packed 90 minutes of World Cup action unfolded with Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.
8pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's crucial Group A clash between Croatia and Mexico in Recife. Both sides are still in with a chance of progressing into the knockout rounds of the World Cup tonight, making this clash a very intriguing one between two sides that have impressed in the tournament so far. The teams have already been announced, so let's take a look at who is on show tonight...
8.02pmTEAM NEWS: The biggest news for Mexico is that Javier Hernandez is once again left on the bench despite speculation that he may start for the first time in this World Cup tonight. Croatia, meanwhile, make one change to the side that thrashed Cameroon as Sammir is replaced by Sime Vrsaljko. Full team news for both sides coming right up...
8.04pmCROATIA STARTING XI: Pletikosa; Vrsaljko, Pranjic, Perisic, Corluka, Lovren, Rakitic, Modric, Srna, Mandzukic, Olic
8.04pmMEXICO STARTING XI: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Marquez, Herrera, Layun, Dos Santos, Moreno, Guardado, Peralta, Aguilar, Vazquez
8.06pmSo, what can we make of those two teams? Well, from Croatia's point of view their solitary change is not a surprising one as Sammir was perhaps the only player that didn't really impress during the thrashing of Cameroon. It will be interesting to see how Niko Kovac sets up for this one given Vrsaljko's introduction as he could opt for a subtle change of tactics.
8.08pmThe heartbeat of the Croatian side is their central midfield partnership of Modric and Rakitic, who have both enjoyed magnificent seasons with their respective La Liga employers. They are arguably as good as any central midfield pairing in the tournament and, although they weren't at their best against Cameroon, they will be looking to run the match tonight and, if they manage that, Croatia could be on their way into the next round.
8.10pmThe most impressive player for Croatia against the Cameroonians was Perisic, who picked up a fine assist and an even better goal to help his side to a resounding victory. He posed a constant threat with his willingness to attack down the flanks, and Mexico will need to be wary of that tonight. The Central American full-backs like to bomb forward, but they may not be able to do that too often in this match.
8.12pmThe main danger man in terms of goalscoring threat for Croatia is, of course, Mandzukic. The big striker was suspended for the defeat to Brazil but came back to face Cameroon and helped himself to a brace, although they were both fairly routine goals for a player of his ability. One of the goals was a header, and his aerial threat is something that Mexico will need to be particularly wary of. He scored seven headed goals last season, which is more than any other player managed in the top five European leagues.
8.14pmIf he is to add to his World Cup tally, however, he will need to do something that the Brazilians could not - find a way past Guillermo Ochoa. The Mexican goalkeeper was in magnificent form to keep Brazil at bay in their goalless draw last week, pulling off a string of fine saves to rescue a point for his side. It was arguably the finest individual performance of the World Cup so far, and it is not surprising that a number of clubs have expressed an interest in the free agent.
8.16pmIn front of Ochoa lies a sturdy defence that is yet to let a goal in at this World Cup, and they are led by Rafael Marquez, who is the first player in history to have captained his country at four separate World Cups. The vastly-experienced centre-back will certainly not things as easy for Mandzukic as Cameroon did, but Croatia also showed that they can attack with pace in that game, which could pose more problems for Marquez and co.
8.18pmAt the other end of the field it is Oribe Peralta who offers the main threat for Mexico. He is the man who has scored their only goal of this World Cup so far, and he has also found the net eight times in his last six competitive international outings. Giovani dos Santos has also been a threat this World Cup and had two goals wrongly chalked off in the win over Cameroon.
8.20pmThe onus really is on Croatia to get a victory in this match tonight. The permutations for them mean that three points is the only way they can be guaranteed a place in the last 16, while a draw would leave them needing Cameroon to stun hosts and tournament favourites Brazil. The latter is very unlikely to happen given how poor Cameroon have been so far, so Niko Kovac will be telling his side that it is win or go home.
8.22pmAn early exit would be a huge disappointment for Croatia, who went into this tournament with high hopes that they could reach the latter stages. They have two or three top quality players in their ranks and would have fancied their chances of progressing from the group alongside Brazil when it was drawn. They could be 90 minutes away from achieving that feat tonight or 90 minutes away from crashing out at the group stages of a major tournament for the fifth time in their last six attempts. The only time they have made it to the knockout rounds in that time was a quarter-final finish in Euro 2008.
8.24pmWhile it would be disappointing, it would also be harsh for Croatia to go out. They almost spoiled the party in the opening match of the tournament against Brazil, taking the lead before being on the wrong end of some dodgy refereeing decisions as the hosts came from behind to win 3-1. The common consensus was that Croatia deserved a draw from that match, but it was not to be. They responded in style with a resounding win over Cameroon, but the 4-0 scoreline may have to be taken with a pinch of salt as Alex Song was sent off for the Africans in the first half.
8.26pmDespite arriving in Brazil with quite a bit of expectation to do well - largely due to the presence of Modric, Rakitic and Mandzukic - it was by no means a straightforward route to the finals for Croatia. They only finished second in Group A of qualifying, coming in a comfortable nine points behind winners Belgium. That saw the Europeans go into the playoffs, where they were handed a kind draw against Iceland. The Blazers made no mistake and won 2-0 on aggregate to reach Brazil.
8.28pmTheir performance in the warm-up matches brought increased reason for optimism, however, as they came into the tournament on a good run of form. The defeat to Brazil is their only loss in their last seven outings, a run that includes victories in both of their warm-up matches (2-1 vs. Mali, 1-0 vs. Australia). Their overall record under Niko Kovac now stands at won four, drawn two and lost just the one.
8.30pmIn contrast, the victory over Cameroon was their first in a World Cup for 12 years, since they beat Italy 2-1 in 2002. That run stretched back seven World Cup games, with the tournament not exactly being king to them since they recorded their best-ever finish of third in their debut World Cup back in France 1998. Davor Suker and co provided a golden era of Croatian football, and this current crop are now attempting to do the same.
8.32pmIncidentally, that third-placed finish in 1998 was the last time that Croatia progressed from the group stages at a World Cup. With some of the players available to them at the moment, that is something of a surprise and a record that the players will be desperate to overturn. That would require victory tonight, however, and they have never won their final World Cup group game, drawing once and losing twice.
8.34pmDespite such an array of statistics counting against them in previous World Cups, it must be said that they have never been humiliated on the grandest stage. They have conceded just 14 goals in their 15 World Cup outings, which is a good record that includes the three against Brazil this year. However, their discipline has been questionable at times having picked up six red cards in their last 10 matches in this tournament.
8.36pmBy contrast, Mexico's recent World Cup record has been very impressive, with El Tri making it to the knockout rounds in their last five appearances at the finals. Avoiding defeat today would be enough for them to make that six in a row, although they have never made it further that the last 16 outside their own country. Their best showings have come when they hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986, both of which saw them reach the quarter-finals.
8.38pmQualification is very much in their hands this evening, however, with a draw being enough for them to go through. However, the cries from the Mexican camp have been saying that they will go for the win tonight to give them the best chance of topping the group above Brazil, who are currently above El Tri on goal difference. Should Brazil slip up, then Mexico simply must better their result to top the group.
8.40pmTheir route to the brink of qualification for the knockout rounds has been impressive, with a 1-0 win over Cameroon failing to reflect their control over that opening game. They had two goals wrongly disallowed before finally opening the scoring, and they could well have had more while Cameroon very rarely threatened at the other end. The same cannot be said for Brazil, who peppered the Mexico goal with shots at times but found Ochoa in inspired form as Mexico held out for an entertaining goalless draw.
8.42pmWhat makes those results even more impressive is the manner with which they qualified for the tournament. They were saved by fierce rivals USA, who scored two injury-time goals against Panama in their last qualifying game to prevent Panama from leapfrogging Mexico in the playoff spot. Having been handed a dramatic lifeline, Mexico made the most of it by thrashing New Zealand 9-3 to book their place in the finals, but the fact that they struggled so much in qualifying is why they were not expected to progress from Group A.
8.44pmThey have been very organised throughout this World Cup and, while they have the heroics of Ochoa to thank more than anything, they are still yet to concede a goal in this World Cup. That is some achievement in a tournament that has been filled with goals for most teams so far, and only Nigeria can match the feat of having kept two clean sheets in their opening two games.
8.46pmIndeed, the last time that Mexico managed three World Cup clean sheets in a row was all the way back in 1986, a tournament that they hosted. The last of those matches was a goalless draw against West Germany in the last eight, but that ended in disappointment as El Tri went out on penalties. Incidentally, they have also not won their final World Cup group game since 1986 either.
8.48pmMexico do hold the unenviable record of number of World Cup defeats to their name. No side can top their tally of 24 from their 51 outings in the tournament, while their record against European teams is not great either. They have only managed to win seven of their 30 outings against teams from Europe.
8.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff is Recife, which means that it is time for a prediction! I see this one being a tight game between two fairly evenly matched teams. You'd have to say that Croatia have the slightly better individuals, but Mexico's organisation has been enough to hold Brazil out already in this tournament. It really could go either way, but I'm going to plump for a 1-1 draw, which will be enough for Mexico to progress.
8.52pmThese two sides have actually met once before in a World Cup, with Mexico running out 1-0 winners in 2002 thanks to a Blanco strike. Croatia hold the head-to-head record overall, however, having beaten Mexico twice before that in friendlies.
8.54pmThe fate of these two teams will be decided in a little more than 90 minutes, but the team that progresses already know what awaits them after Group B came to its conclusion earlier today. The winners of Group A -expected to be Brazil - will face Chile, while the runners-up - expected to be one of these two teams - will take on the impressive Netherlands.
8.56pmAs with all final group games, both matches will run concurrently tonight, and you can follow live coverage of Brazil vs. Cameroon with us as well. I will also be keeping you up to date with the major events from that match, and what impact they have on these two teams.
8.58pmWe're edging ever closer to kickoff is Recife now, ahead of what is a vital match for both teams involved. Assuming that Brazil do the business against Cameroon, one of these sides is now 90 minutes away from World Cup elimination, while the other is 90 minutes away from the last 16.
1 minKICKOFF: Mexico get us underway here in Recife. Who will be celebrating at the end of the 90 minutes tonight? Stick with us to find out!
3 minNervy moment early on from Ochoa, the hero of Mexico's last game against Brazil. He tries to clear the ball but gets a poor contact on it, gifting the ball to Croatia. However, the Europeans can't take advantage and Ochoa gets away with it.
5 minUnsurprisingly given the geographical proximity between Mexico and Brazil it is El Tri who have the larger contingent of fans inside the stadium. They are booing when Croatia have the ball, but the Europeans have still seen more of the possession in these opening exchanges.
7 minGreat ball in from Rakitic as he collects a short corner before whipping his delivery into the box. Perisic steals a yard on his man to latch on to the ball, but volleys his effort a long way over the top.
9 minYELLOW CARD! An early card here as Rakitic goes into the book for a late and heavy challenge on Vazquez. He can have no complaints with that one, it was a poor challenge.
10 minHalf a chance for Herrera as he makes a good run forward to latch on to an early free kick, with none of the Croatian defenders following him. However, the midfielder's first touch lets him down and the ball runs out for a goal kick. He would have been in a very promising position had he got that under his spell.
12 minCroatia have started the brighter in the first 12 minutes of this match, as you might expect with the onus of victory on them. Mexico are fairly happy to let Croatia have most of the ball at the moment, and so far the Europeans have been unable to break them down.
13 minCroatia win the ball back in a good position and immediately look to break as Mandzukic slides the ball through to Perisic. The latter opts to pass instead of shoot, but he has no-one in support and his pass doesn't find a teammate. He may have been better off going for goal himself there.
14 minInteresting corner move from Croatia as they play it long to Srna, who lifts a cross of his own to the back post. Olic climbs well and nods it back into a dangerous area towards Mandzukic, but Aguiler gets a vital header in to clear his lines.
16 minOFF THE BAR! Oh my word, what an effort this is! It is a lovely move from Mexico as Giovani, Peralta and Herrera link up really well. The latter picks up a back-heel and hammers a magnificent strike towards the top corner that comes off the underside of the bar. The keeper was beaten all ends up, so unlucky for Herrera.
18 minUPDATE: Well, it hasn't taken long for Brazil to take the lead. Their wonderboy Neymar has got the opener against Cameroon to put them one step closer to the knockout stages.
19 minCHANCE! Big chance for Mexico to take the lead again! The ball is threaded through down the right channel for Peralta to run on to having beaten the offside trap. He only has the keeper to beat but, just as he is about to pull the trigger, he slips and the ball squirms out for a goal kick. That is really unfortunate.
21 minThat shot off the bar does seem to have sparked Mexico into life here, and they have created the best moment and the best chance of the match so far. Croatia have looked decent in open play, but they are yet to find a cutting edge.
23 minNow Croatia have a spell in the ascendancy, again without creating anything substantial. It has been a fairly even half so far as we pass the midway point of the opening 45 minutes.
25 minI mentioned earlier that it would be interesting to see how Kovac sets his team up tonight, and the main difference from usual is that Modric is playing in a more advanced role than he has for Real Madrid this season and in the first two games of the World Cup. So far, though, he has failed to have a very big impact on this match.
27 minSHOT! Decent effort from Pranjic as the ball comes out to him around 25 yards from goal. He keeps his head down and hits it first-time, but his powerful strike ends up a yard or so over the top.
29 minUPDATE: Hold on one second, Cameroon don't seem to have read the script! They equalise against the hosts courtesy of a Joel Matip strike. It is now 1-1 there.
29 minDecent opening for Perisic as Mandzukic does really well to knock the ball down for his teammate on the edge of the area. Perisic tries a half volley but just doesn't catch it right, slicing it high and wide when he probably should have done better.
31 minAnother long-range effort, this time from Mexico, is once again sliced off target as Vazquez fires a show a long way wide. We have largely been limited to efforts from outside the box so far.
33 minMexico have done a job job in keeping Rakitic and Modric quiet so far. The duo have been earmarked as Croatia's puppet-masters early in his tournament and, as a result, they are not getting much space to operate in at all. It was the same against Cameroon until the Africans had a man sent off.
35 minUPDATE: He's done it again! Neymar improves his magnificent record at international level even further with his second of that match as Brazil restore their lead against Cameroon.
37 minDecent spell of Mexican pressure here as they win two corners in quick succession, but on both occasions the ball is comfortably cleared by Croatia. They come back again, however, and win yet another corner.
39 minYELLOW CARD! From the third and final corner Croatia break quickly and Marquez takes on for his team by sliding in from behind and taking out his man. That was as cynical as it gets, and he can have no complaints at going in the book.
40 minFrom the resulting free kick it is Srna who lines up an effort, but he fires it narrowly over the bar. Even if he had got it back down in time, Ochoa looked to have it covered in goal.
41 minLovely move from Mexico as they come flooding forward in numbers. A couple of passes are just behind their intended recipients, but eventually it still falls to Layun, whose curling effort is deflected behind by Corluka.
42 minPletikosa is put under heavy pressure from the resulting corner and subsequently wins a free kick, but a couple of the Croatian players are unhappy with the challenge on their keeper. A mini-scuffle ensues, but it is only handbags really and the referee calms things down without resorting to flashing cards.
44 minA couple of times Croatia have come forward and delivered crosses into the box, only for no red and white shirts to be in the area. You can understand why they may be cautious as Mexico have looked dangerous on the break, but they will need to commit more men forward if it stays like this for much longer.
45 minAnother minor flashpoint as Srna and Guardado have angry words with each other after a poor challenge from the latter. Again the referee calms things down without any cards, but this one is becoming increasingly feisty here.
45+2 minHALF TIME: Croatia 0-0 Mexico
9.56pmThe referee brings an end to the first half here in Recife and, in truth, it hasn't been the best 45 minutes of action we have seen in this World Cup. With so much at stake it has been a tense affair, with Mexico looking the most likely when coming forward. Croatia haven't got into full flow so far, and they will need to improve if they are to get the win they need to reach the last 16.
9.58pmThe closest we have come to a goal so far came from Mexico and, specifically, Herrera, who hit the underside of the crossbar with a magnificent strike from range. The keeper was well and truly beaten as the ball flew towards his top corner, and Herrera was very unfortunate to see it come back off the woddwork.
10pmOther than that, there has been a distinct lack of goalmouth action in this match so far. Mexico carved out the next best opportunity shortly they hit the woodwork, with Peralta racing down the right channel and into the box, only to slip at the vital moment as he was about to pull the trigger with only the keeper to beat.
10.02pmCroatia have seen a decent amount of the ball, but they haven't really threatened Mexico's defence so far. The Central Americans have been disciplined as they refuse to take any unnecessary risks regarding their full-backs, who have been a little more reserved than usual so far. Even so, it is Mexico who have looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
10.04pmThe match got fairly feisty towards the closing stages of the half as the tension and frustration of a tight opening 45 minutes came to the boil. As things stand, remember, Mexico will go through alongside Brazil, while Croatia will be out.
46 minKICKOFF: Croatia get us underway for this second half as they look to get the goal they need to leapfrog Mexico in the group as things stand. Can they do it or will this be their final 45 minutes in the 2014 World Cup?
48 minThe ball almost drops for a Croatian player on the edge of the box as Mexico fail to get a second ball away from anger, but they react well to block the effort. Mexico have defended well to fair, not allowing Croatia any joy.
50 minBetter from Croatia now as they look to provide more of a cutting edge in the final third. Mandzukic is almost released through on goal here, but the pass is just too heavy and Ochoa can come out to collect.
52 minUPDATE: Surely it is all over in Brasilia now as the hosts have taken a 3-1 lead over Cameroon courtesy of a Fred strike. They will top the group barring some dramatic action in the second half of both Group A games.
54 minDecent chance for Croatia to break as Pranjic finds himself in a bit of space. He floats a delivery towards the back post for Mandkuzic, who has peeled off his man, but there is too much on the cross and it goes behind for a goal kick.
56 minIt just isn't happening for Croatia in the final third at the moment. Ochoa, who made a string of fine saves in his last outing, has not has anything to do tonight, and it can't be long before we see a change for the Europeans. They need to start asking more questions in an attacking sense.
57 minMexico win a corner courtesy of a good Srna challenge inside his own box. Peralta rises highest to meet the resulting delivery, but his header ends up high over the bar.
58 minCROATIA SUB: Here is the change from Kovac as Mateo Kovacic comes on to replace Vrsaljko. Kovacic will now go into the number 10 role, allowing Modric to drop back alongside Rakitic and Pranjic to go to left-back.
60 minLovren is harshly penalised for a robust but good aerial challenge on Peralta on the right wing, giving Mexico a free kick in a very good position. What can they make of this?
61 minThe ball is aimed for Rodriguez, but it is a terrible delivery and goes over everyone and behind for a goal kick. What a waste that was.
63 minMEXICO SUB: Mexico make their first change of the night as Giovani dos Santos makes way to be replaced by Javier Hernandez. Hernandez is Mexico's third-highest scoring player of all time, but he has not found the net in his last 11 games for his country - his worst drought at this level. Still, it is a statement of intent from Mexico.
64 minPENALTY SHOUT! The Mexicans are going wild here as they think they should have a penalty. A long ball comes all the way through to Guardado at the back post, and he controls it before firing an effort towards goal. Srna dives in to make the block and the ball comes off his hands, but the referee waves away the penalty claims. I've certainly seen them given!
66 minOFF THE LINE! Great defending from Corluka as he tracks back onto the line to nod a corner away, preventing the delivery flying straight in!
66 minYELLOW CARD! As Croatia threatened to break away following that goal line clearance Vazquez brought his man down and was subsequently shown a yellow card.
67 minSAVE! Mexico threaten again, but this time they are denied by Pletikosa, who makes the save with his foot! The Central Americans are on top at the moment as Croatia seem to be fading.
69 minPletikosa hadn't really had anything to do until that stop from Aguilar, while Ochoa has been even quieter than his opposite number. There hasn't been too much goalmouth action in this one, but it is starting to heat up now.
70 minCROATIA SUB: Another change for the Europeans as Olic makes way to be replaced by Ante Rebic, who made an impact when coming on against Cameroon last time out.
72 minGOAL! Croatia 0-1 Mexico (Rafael Marquez)
72 minCometh the hour, cometh the man. Mexico's captain Marquez surely puts his side into the last 16 as he rises highest in the area to plant a header down and past Pletikosa. The Croatia keeper should have done better there, but it had been coming. The European side now need two goals in the final 20 minutes to rescue their World Cup campaign.
74 minCroatia simply have no choice but to go all out attack now. They haven't looked like scoring all night, but they must now score twice against a side that hasn't conceded a goal in this tournament so far. It seems very unlikely, but never say never in this World Cup.
75 minGOAL! Croatia 0-2 Mexico (Andres Guardado)
75 minIf there was any doubt before, it is game over now. Mexico break quickly as Croatia come forward looking for a goal, with Hernandez leading the attack. He plays it out to the right before making his way into the box for the return pass. It is behind the Manchester United man, but Guardado is steaming in to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
77 minCROATIA SUB: Just before the goal, Croatia made a third and final change as Nikica Jelavic came on for Pranjic. Surely the Hull man can't inspire a comeback here?
78 minOFF THE LINE! Superb defending to protect Mexico's clean sheet! Rebic sprints through a couple of challenges with a powerful run into the box before sliding his shot past Ochoa, but Moreno slides to to provide a fine clearance off the line. There is just no way past this Mexican defence!
80 minMEXICO SUB: Another change for Mexico as Peralta trots off to be replaced by Carlos Pena.
82 minGOAL! Croatia 0-3 Mexico (Javier Hernandez)
82 minOh it is all falling apart for Croatia now! Mexico extend their lead even further as a corner is flicked on by Marquez at the near post for Hernandez to steal in at the back and nod home from close range to end his international drought. Incredible. Croatia have simply collapsed here.
84 minThings are getting very interesting now at the top of the group. If Mexico get one more goal and Brazil's score stays the same then Mexico would go through as group winners on goal difference, setting up a last 16 match against Chile rather than Netherlands. The way things are going, you wouldn't bet against that.
86 minUPDATE: Just as we are saying that, Brazil go and score a fourth through Fernandinho. Mexico would now need two goals without Brazil scoring again to top the group.
87 minMEXICO SUB: Guardado, goalscorer of the second for Mexico, makes way to be replaced late on by Marco Fabian.
87 minGOAL! Croatia 1-3 Mexico (Ivan Perisic)
87 minCroatia grab a consolation goal late on here as Rakitic plays a delightful back-heel into the path of Perisic, who has sprinted on beyond his teammate. He is presented with a tight angle but manages to squeeze it into the bottom far corner with a fine finish to inflict Mexico's first conceded goal of the tournament.
89 minRED CARD! Ante Rebic (Croatia)
89 minOh more late drama here as Rebic sees a straight red card for a poor challenge on Pena. His boot was high, he led with his studs and he was very late - the can have no complaints about being given his marching orders. Things go from bad to worse for Croatia.
90+1 minThere will be four minutes of added time at the end of this match.
90+1 minCHANCE! Incredible chance for Croatia to pull another goal back late on here as the ball comes into the area for Perisic, who is unmarked on the penalty spot. He fires a decent volley towards goal, but Ochoa reacts well to make a fine stop.
90+3 minHow many matches have we seen at this World Cup where the main bulk of the action has come in the closing stages? It has been the same again here, with the game struggling to get going until the final 20 minutes, in which time we have seen four goals and a red card.
90+4 minFULL TIME: Croatia 1-3 Mexico
90+4 minMEXICO ARE THROUGH TO THE LAST 16! CROATIA ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP!
10.56pmWow, what an incredible final 20 minutes to that match. It was, in truth, a fairly poor game in terms of entertainment until Marquez nodded Mexico into the lead in the 72nd minute, but from that point on it was absorbing stuff. Mexico scored twice more within 10 minutes, while Croatia grabbed a late consolation and had a man sent off.
10.58pmIt was Guardado who get Mexico's second with a breakaway goal that killed the game off as a contest, with Croatia needing a win to progress. Javier Hernandez got in on the act in the 82nd minute with a trademark poacher's goal at the back post, while Perisic ensured that Mexico wouldn't go through the group stages without conceding. Rebic was then shown a straight red for a high and late challenge on Pena to pour more misery on Croatia's evening.
11pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what was another action-packed night of World Cup action. It is Mexico who are left celebrating as they book their place in the last 16 of the World Cup at the expense of Croatia, who go crashing out. Be sure to stick around for our match report, reaction, analysis and player ratings, all of which will be on site shortly. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!