Mandzukic praises Kovac tactics

The burly striker paid tribute to his coach after hitting a double as Croatia picked up their first win of the World Cup

Croatia carried out coach Niko Kovac’s instructions to a tee, striker Mario Mandzukic admitted after helping his side to a 4-0 win over Cameroon on Wednesday.

The Bayern Munich striker scored twice to add to an 11th-minute tap-in from Ivica Olic and a 48th-minute Ivan Perisic strike.

Croatia face Mexico on June 23 knowing a win would see them through to the round of 16.

It should be another stiff examination of Kovac’s managerial ability but Mandzukic revealed his tactics against Cameroon were proved spot on.

He told Croatian TV channel HTV: “We did everything possible. We have trained hard and done what the coach wanted us to do.

“He wanted an early goal and at half-time he told us to finish the game as soon as possible.”

Mandzukic could have ended up with a hat-trick after, prior to scoring, missing a one-on-one with Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje.

“It was a long run, I was tired and lost focus,” he added. “But never mind, I never play to score but to help my team. My goals come as a reward.

“We have shown we have power, now we go into battle with Mexico.”

Team-mate Eduardo added that he was in no doubt what tactics the Central Americans would adopt in the Recife clash.

“Mexico will aim for a draw against us,” he said, knowing that will be enough for Miguel Herrera’s men to qualify.

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