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Soccer-Fans will help "home team" Mexico defeat Croatia - Herrera


By Philip O'Connor

RECIFE, Brazil, June 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's legions of travelling fans will carry their team to victory against Croatia and into the knockout stages of the World Cup, coach Miguel Herrera told a news conference.

The Mexican fans are expected to be in the majority when the two teams meet at the Pernambuco arena in Recife in their final Group A game on Monday. Mexico only need a draw to progress to the knockout stages for the sixth World Cup in a row.

"When you hear them sing the national anthem against Brazil, you get goose bumps. That showed that the Mexicans will be heard here tomorrow, and that we will be the home team tomorrow," Herrera said.

The support of the fans has not gone unnoticed by the players, whose family and friends were allowed to visit the final training session on Sunday evening, and there is a strong desire in the camp to make them proud.

"We have had the motivation since we arrived in Brazil," Herrera said. "We're motivated by the fact that tomorrow, we will hear the fans of Mexico very well.

"We have to show our people that we are with them. We will have to do everything possible on the field of play."

The 46-year-old told reporters that he would name an unchanged side from the one that drew 0-0 with Brazil, and that he was unperturbed by reports that Croatia coach Nico Kovacs had a plan to defeat his team.

"You only have to be a cook in order to have recipes," Herrera smiled.

"I believe that these are two teams that like to attack. Tomorrow there is the match, and then for one of the teams there is no more tomorrow," he said. "We will do our best to come back to our camp and train for the next match."

Herrera said that the pressure might be on Croatia to attack, but that the stakes were high for both sides.

"I think that the pressure is on both teams. We are playing for a place in the World Cup. It seems logical that we are under less pressure. They have to come out an look for the victory, but we'll do everything that we have done thus far."

Mexico and Brazil have four points, with the Brazilians on top on goal difference. Croatia are in third on three points with Cameroon already eliminated having lost their first two games.

Barring an unlikely big win for Cameroon over hosts Brazil, the Mexicans will need at least a draw against Croatia at the Pernambuco arena on Monday if they are to make it through to the last 16. (Reporting By Philip O'Connor, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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