Javier Hernandez came off the bench to score for Mexico on Monday, as El Tri beat Croatia 3-1 to secure a last 16 spot against Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands.
The United striker was sent into the fray on 61 minutes with scores locked at 0-0. Twenty minutes later, Mexico were 3-0 up and cruising into the knockout rounds.
Before kick-off, Mexico knew a draw or better against Croatia would send them through but Miguel Herrera’s men weren’t prepared to settle for a point in Recife, despite a first half that promised little in the way of goalmouth action.
Indeed, the only real incident of note in the first 45 minutes was a fierce Hector Herrera shot that cannoned off the Croatian woodwork.
The game sparked into life after Hernandez’s introduction just after the hour mark. He had a penalty appeal turned down almost immediately before winning the corner that led to Mexico’s first goal, headed in by captain Rafael Marquez.
Chicharito was also involved in the build-up to Mexico’s second three minutes later, spraying the ball wide before Andres Guardado stroked home Oribe Peralta's cross with a calm side-footed finish.
Hernandez’s moment came with just eight minutes to play, nodding in a flick-on at the back post from another corner.
With his goal, Chicharito became the sixth different United player to net at the World Cup, following previous strikes by Robin van Persie, Marouane Fellaini, Wayne Rooney, Nani