Final, 0-0: It’s over. Brazil-Mexico ends in a goalless draw.
Some goalless games are better than others. Cue the “who knew 0-0 could be exciting” posts on social and traditional media. This was one of the best ones.
For 90 minutes, Brazil and Mexico went toe-to-toe, and it’s fitting that both were standing proud at the end. The game was fiercely competitive, and the tension didn’t subside for even one second. As expected, Brazil created more quality scoring chances than Mexico, but Guillermo Ochoa became a national hero with one of the all-time great performances by a goalkeeper in World Cup history.
Ochoa made four sensational saves — two in each half — to preserve the scoreline, and he deserves every plaudit that comes his way from around the world. Ochoa instilled confidence in his defenders, who knew that he had their backs in the face of Brazil’s onslaught. Ochoa is a free agent, but he doesn’t have to worry about his next move. His agent’s telephone will ring continuously until he signs on the dotted line somewhere.
Brazil will be disappointed not to have won the game. It played a tough and determined opponent, whose goalkeeper was in standout form. It happens from time to time, although not usually to Brazil.
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Mexico will celebrate the result as the triumph that it is.
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Brazil and Mexico both have four points after two games in Group A. Brazil remains in first place because of its superior goal differential. Brazil will face Cameroon and Mexico will take on Croatia on June 23 in their respective Group A finales.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
90th minute +1, 0-0: Jimenez shoots from the corner of Brazil’s penalty area, and Cesar does well to make the save.
90th minute, 0-0: Guardado cuts inside and fires a curling shot with his left foot, but it was a little too high and landed on the top of the net.
The fourth official indicates there will be three minutes of extra time.
86th minute, 0-0: Ochoa comes up big again.
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Silva heads Neymar’s well-placed free kick on goal from four yards out, but it goes right at Ochoa, who saves “El Tri” from defeat once again.
84th minute, 0-0: Both teams make a late substitution. Willian replaces Oscar for Brazil. Jimenez comes on for Dos Santos for Mexico.
79th minute, 0-0: Silva is cautioned for a mistimed and misplaced tackle from behind on Hernandez.
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76th minute, 0-0: Fabian replaces Herrera, as Mexico makes another substitution.
76th minute, 0-0: Jo drags a shot across the face of Ochoa’s goal.
After a slow start to the second half, Brazil is now imposing itself on Mexico. It is attacking in waves and with numbers, but Mexico’s defenders are holding firm, and Ochoa is there to bail them out when necessary.
74th minute, 0-0: Hernandez replaces Peralta, as Mexico makes a switch at striker.
69th minute, 0-0: Ochoa preserves the current scoreline with another great save. This time, the Mexico goalkeeper denies Neymar from close range.
68th minute, 0-0: Jo replaces Fred, who was ineffective this game.
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63rd minute, 0-0: Neymar tests Ochoa with the ensuing free kick, but his effort curls just above the top corner of the goal.
62nd minute, 0-0: Vazquez is cautioned for a foul on Neymar. It didn’t look like there was much in the tackle. Neymar sold that one, and the referee bought it.
59th minute, 0-0: Aguilar is cautioned for taking down Bernard from behind.
57th minute, 0-0: Now Herrera tests Cesar from distance, but his shot sails high.
Mexico is enjoying a better start to the second half than Brazil. “El Tri” is frustrating the hosts defensively and finding space in the final third, from which it can launch those long shots.
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53rd minute, 0-0: It’s more of the same in the second half. The game remains intense, and the teams continue to tackle with full force.
Mexico’s best chances are coming from long shots, as Guardado, then Vazquez, take turns firing from outside the Brazil penalty area.
46th minute, 0-0: The second half is underway.
Brazil made a substitution at halftime, bringing on Bernard for Ramires. Perhaps Scolari didn’t want to risk Ramires receiving a second yellow card. Bernard will add more creativity to Brazil’s attack, but the hosts might lose something defensively with the substitution.
Halftime, 0-0: The first half is over. It’s still goalless.
It’s a case of “nothing given, nothing taken” in Fortaleza. The game has been fiercely competitive so far. Brazil created the better scoring opportunities, but Ochoa’s heroics have held the hosts scoreless.
Ochoa was involved in a goalkeepers’ controversy before the start of the tournament. Ochoa and Corona were in a dead-heat in the race for the starting job. Ochoa won in the end. The Mexican stopper also is a free agent, having left French club Ajaccio after the 2013-14 season. Ochoa’s price increased after that first-half performance.
The game’s intensity was set before kickoff, as fans and players belted out the anthems. It’s somewhat surprising that it hasn’t yet boiled over. Tackles were flying throughout the first half, but Ramires is the only player who received a yellow card. The referee has done well to manage things on the field amid the emotional atmosphere on the field and in the stands.
Check out some halftime stats below.
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45th minute, 0-0: Ramires is cautioned for a late challenge on Aguilar.
44th minute, 0-0: Ochoa makes another great save. This time, he denies Paulinho from point-blank range.
41st minute, 0-0: Mexico gives Brazil another scare, as Guardado does good work on the left to set up Vazquez, whose curling shot goes just wide of Cesar’s goal.
40th minute, 0-0: Gustavo is down after clashing heads with Herrera during an aerial challenge. The Brazil midfielder is receiving treatment, and it looks like he’ll be able to continue.
30th minute, 0-0: Goal-line technology shows that Ochoa saved Neymar’s header right off the goal line. No goal.
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26th minute, 0-0: Ochoa makes a spectacular diving save on Neymar’s header. It’s probably the best save of the 2014 World Cup so far.
Alves fired in a cross from the right. Neymar rose above Marquez and directed his header toward the far post. Ochoa dove to his right and palmed it away.
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24th minute, 0-0: Herrera shoots from distance, missing by not that much. It was Mexico’s first real scoring chance.
While much of the game has been played in the middle third, Brazil has threatened more than Mexico. The hosts are targeting Aguilar and Mexico’s right, but Fred has run offside a couple of time, stopping Brazil’s attack.
16th minute, 0-0: It’s becoming competitive in the stands, too.
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The estimated 10,000 Mexico fans break out a rendition of the classic tune, “Cielito Lindo.” The Brazilian fans respond with boos, whistles and chants of their own.
13th minute, 0-0: The game remains fast and rough after nearly a quarter hour of play. Brazil appears to be seizing control, but Mexico is steadfast in defense. Mexico is defending in numbers well and preventing Brazil from finding much space in the final third.
Fifth minute, 0-0: It has been a physical and spirited start to the game. Mexico is showing willingness to make hard tackles on Neymar and force play into Brazil’s half using quick counter-attacks.
First minute, 0-0: After a rousing set of national anthems, the Group A clash between Brazil and Mexico is underway.
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Pregame: Brazil forward Hulk misses the game because of the hamstring problem. Ramires takes his place on the forward line.
Brazil must commit numbers to the attack if it is to unlock Mexico’s defense. Fred will find it difficult to escape Mexico’s three center backs. Neymar and Ramires will have to operate on the inside as well. Oscar and Paulinho will be crucial to Brazil’s effort. They must go forward to give Brazil a numerical advantage in the center when attacking.
2:30 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Julio Cesar (12), goalkeeper
Marcelo (6), left back
Thiago Silva (3), center back
David Luiz (4), center back
Dani Alves (2), right back
Paulinho (8), midfielder
Luiz Gustavo (17), midfielder
Oscar (11), midfielder
Ramires (16), forward
Neymar (10), forward
Fred (9), striker
Jefferson (1), goalkeeper
Victor (22), goalkeeper
Maicon (23), defender
Maxwell (14), defender
Henrique (15), defender
Dante (13), defender
Fernandinho (5), midfielder
Hernanes (18), midfielder
Willian (19), midfielder
Bernard (20), forward
Jo (21), striker
Guillermo Ochoa (13), goalkeeper
Miguel Layun (7), left back
Hector Moreno (15), center back
Rafael Marquez (4), center back
Francisco Rodriguez (2), center back
Paul Aguilar (22), right back
Jose Vazquez (23), midfielder
Hector Herrera (6), midfielder
Andres Guardado (18), midfielder
Giovani Dos Santos (10), forward
Oribe Peralta (19), striker
Jose Corona (1), goalkeeper
Alredo Talavera (12), goalkeeper
Carlos Salcido (3), defender
Diego Reyes (5), defender
Miguel Ponce (16), defender
Carlos Pena (21), midfielder
Javier Aquino (20), midfielder
Isaac Brizuela (17), midfielder
Marco Fabian (8), midfielder
Raul Jimenez (9), forward
Alan Pulido (11), striker
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (13), striker
2 p.m. ET: Round-robin action at the 2014 FIFA World Cup continues Tuesday when Brazil faces Mexico at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Brazil and Mexico won their World Cup openers last week, but both teams will look to perform more convincingly than they did against Croatia and Cameroon, respectively. The winner of this game will assume the top spot in Group A and mathematically qualify for the Round of 16.
The teams last met at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Brazil won 2-0, but Mexico competed bravely against the hosts.
Mexico is expecting this to be its hardest group-stage game. Brazil isn’t taking Mexico lightly, either.
“Every time we play against Mexico, we have difficulties,” Brazil head coach Luis Felipe Scolari said, according to FIFA.com. “That is why it is a game the players know will be very even, they need to have very good conditioning from the beginning until the end. The two teams play football of very good quality, with the ball on the ground, lots of moving around.
Brazil forward Hulk will miss the game due to a hamstring injury. Bernard is expected to replace Hulk on Brazil’s forward line.
The game kicks off at 3 p.m. Join us right here for all the action from the Estadio Castelao.
Photo via USA Today Sports Images