Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mexico Advances in World Cup

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mexico Advances in World Cup

Article excerpt

RECIFE, Brazil * One of the first things Miguel Herrera did when he became Mexico's fourth coach in a year was to call Rafael Marquez and ask the 35-year-old defender known as "the boss" to return to the national side as captain.

On Monday, the world saw why.

Marquez's pivotal goal on a header in the 72nd minute ignited a scoring burst as Mexico surged into the World Cup's knockout stage for a sixth straight time with a 3-1 triumph over Croatia.

"I did not hesitate one minute after my talk with him to appoint him captain," Herrera said, referring to Marquez, now in his fourth World Cup. "He's had many achievements in his career, personally, but he's also provided leadership to the team, that soundness, and that is why they call him the boss."

Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored in a 10-minute span in the second half, dooming a talented Croatia side to elimination from the group stage.

The Croats had to win to advance and held the bulk of possession, but had trouble seriously threatening goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who kept out all efforts until an 87th-minute consolation goal from Ivan Perisic.

Mexico entered the game needing only a draw but played aggressively and looked dangerous in attack even before breaking through. The result gave Mexico a second-place finish behind Brazil in Group A and sets up a second-round meeting in Fortaleza with Group B winner the Netherlands.

"We overcame the first hurdle," Herrera said. "We're going to celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we have to start thinking of our match with the Netherlands."

Marquez, who had scored in Germany in 2006 and South Africa four years ago, made it three straight World Cups with a goal.

Brazil 4, Cameroon 1 * Neymar scored twice in the first half to lead Brazil to a win over Cameroon in Brasilia, helping the host nation secure a spot in the second round of the World Cup.

Fred and Fernandinho added second-half goals for Brazil, the top team in Group A.

Neymar opened the scoring off a low cross by midfielder Luiz Gustavo in the 17th minute, deftly side-footing the ball home from close range, then restored the lead with a low right-foot strike from the top of the penalty area in the 35th after a pass by left back Marcelo. …

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