Sports

GROUP A

CROATIA

Star man: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich)

One to watch: Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla)

Coach: Niko Kovac (above)

Qualified: Europe play-off winners

Best World Cup: Third (1998)

Predicted group finish: 3

They may not be the class of ’98 standard, but there is enough quality within the squad with the talents of Bayern Munich’s Mandzukic and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric supplemented by the likes of Eduardo and Nikica Jelavic


MEXICO

Star man: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)

One to watch: Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal)

Coach: Miguel Herrera (above)

Qualified: Intercontinental play-off

Best World Cup: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)

Predicted group finish: 2

They needed the intercontinental play-offs to qualify, but routed New Zealand 9-3 on aggregate once there. A blend of seasoned veterans and emerging stars - built around the focal point of Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez - will make Mexico a dangerous proposition.