World Cup: Mexico goalkeeper Ochoa stifles Brazil as teams play to 0-0 draw
By Gideon Long
FORTALEZA, Brazil — Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced a series of superb reflex saves to restrict Brazil to a 0-0 draw at the World Cup on Tuesday and deny the Brazilians their 11th victory in a row.
In an absorbing Group A match in the deafening cauldron of Fortaleza’s Castelao arena, Ochoa thwarted Paulinho, Neymar (twice) and Thiago Silva when they seemed certain to score.
He was the last Mexican player to leave the pitch to a standing ovation by thousands of green-shirted supporters before being named man of the match.
“We should congratulate their goalkeeper who performed at least four miracles,” Brazilian striker Fred said after a frustrating afternoon for the hosts who failed time and again to unlock a stubborn Mexican defence.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari described Ochoa’s performance as “spectacular”.
At the other end, the Mexicans had a few decent chances of their own in yet another entertaining game at this World Cup, and they could have snatched a victory had their long-range shots been more accurate.
Jose Vasquez, Hector Herrera and Miguel Layun all tried their luck with powerful drives from outside the box that zipped over Julio Cesar’s crossbar.
The draw ended Brazil’s 10-match winning streak, dating back to August when they lost to Switzerland in a friendly.
It also meant that to make the second round of the tournament both teams need points from their final group games on June 23 when Brazil face Cameroon in Brasilia and Mexico meet Croatia in Recife.
“There was a chance here, a chance there, it was very tight,” Scolari said.
“It wasn’t a question of us evolving or not (from the last game). We’ve been playing this way 20 games, we are up against good teams, we need to understand that.”