Mexico to play Croatia in second March friendly match

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El Tri will take on a second European side in March, with the contest taking place at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys

Plans for the Mexico national team continue to take shape ahead of the 2018 World Cup, with the second opponent for March's pair of friendly matches announced Thursday.

El Tri will take on Croatia on March 27 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Croatian federation previously announced the contest, but the Mexican federation and Soccer United Marketing confirmed the match Thursday.

With the game falling during the FIFA international window, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio will be able to not only have his Europe-based players who make up the bulk of his squad but also see how they perform against top talent like Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic.

“It will be a fantastic occasion," Osorio said. "Croatia is one of the best teams in Europe to play offensive football and for this time they will have all the best players, including Modric, so it will be a fantastic opportunity for us to compete face-to-face in our way of playing against their way, which is very similar. I think the fans will enjoy it."

Like Mexico, Croatia is preparing for the 2018 World Cup and will be eager to take the chance to get its squad together for the last time ahead of the end of the European club season.

The Mexican federation has attempted to find opponents that will play in a similar style to the ones they'll see in World Cup group play against Germany, Sweden and South Korea. Osorio said the Croatian team looks for the game in a way similar to Mexico, but also believes the style will somewhat simulate the first group game against Germany.

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"We think that Croatia tries to control the game through their passing ability, like the Germans do," he said. "A lot of the players control the ball very well and pass it as well. We think there is a familiarity there."

Mexico also will face Iceland on March 23 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Following the March friendlies, Osorio will be left to observe his players from afar until late May, when a match is expected to take place in the United States. Mexico then will face Scotland at the Estadio Azteca before traveling to Denmark for a tune-up before the Wold Cup begins.

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