World Cup 2014: Time, TV, preview for Mexico-Croatia and Monday’s other games

The World Cup continues Monday with four group-stage matches (all times EDT):

Group B: Netherlands vs. Chile in Sao Paulo, noon (ESPN)

Group B: Spain vs. Australia in Curitiba, noon (ESPN2)

Group A: Mexico vs. Croatia in Recife, 4 p.m. (ESPN)

Group A: Brazil vs. Cameroon in Brasilia, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)

MATCH OF THE DAY

Mexico vs. Croatia

The stakes ramp up for many teams as the final round of group play begins, but only one matchup today is essentially an elimination game: Croatia must win to advance to the round of 16, while Mexico needs a win or a draw. The Croats (1-1-0, three points), coming off a 4-0 rout of self-destructive Cameroon, have to crack the defense of El Tri (1-0-1, four points), which has yet to allow a goal. Fitting, then, that Croatia went on the offensive before the match even started. Coach Niko Kovac said Sunday, according to an Associated Press report, that “If anybody’s knees should be trembling,” it should be the Mexican defense’s.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico

The goalkeeper gave one of the standout individual performances of the tournament in Mexico’s previous game, making several spectacular saves to hold high-powered Brazil to a scoreless draw. (“He came up with at least four miracles,” Brazil’s Fred told reporters of Ochoa after the game.) Playing for a team that has scored just once in two games — and facing an attacking side featuring  Bayern Munich star Mario Mandzukic —  Ochoa’s intervention will likely again be needed.

More from the World Cup:

Revisit all of Sunday’s action on the World Cup live blog

U.S. is forced to settled for draw after Portugal’s last-gasp goal

How the U.S. can still advance in the World Cup

Netherlands, long a World Cup bridesmaid, has high expectations

Belgium gets late goal to beat Russia and advance

Algeria sets African scoring standard in outgunning S. Korea

Thousands of American soccer fans make Brazil feel like home

Isolated Amazon city of Manaus celebrates its World Cup spotlight

In Iran, loss is still cause for celebration

Scores and schedule | Group standings | Stats leaders

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