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Dirty Tackle

Mexico breaks through against Croatia after clear handball ignored by ref

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
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Just like its group-stage opener against Cameroon, Mexico was once again the victim of horrible officiating in its decisive third match against Croatia. And just as it did in the Cameroon match, it overcame those injustices with goals.

Mexico needed at least a draw against Croatia to advance while its opponent was in need of a win and the first half played out like both sides were too worried about each other to take any risks. In the 64th minute, Croatia's Dario Srna blocked the ball in the box with both his arms — a blatant handball that the referee refused to call, denying Mexico a penalty that could have given it the lead.

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(@cjzero)

(@cjzero)

Chicharito was apoplectic, yelling "handball!" at the ref over and over, but his protests were ignored. This was Croatia's second uncalled handball of the night, but Mexico kept attacking.

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In the 72nd minute, captain Rafa Marquez scored with his head to make it 1-0. Three minutes later, Andres Guardado added a second and seven minutes after that Chicharito added a third. Croatia scored in the 87th minute to make it 3-1, which was the final score.

With the win, Mexico finished second in Group A just behind Brazil on goal difference. It's been an amazing turnaround after it only qualified for the World Cup by beating New Zealand in an inter-confederation playoff. It will face the Netherlands in the round of 16.

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(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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