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World Cup 2014 : Ochoa: How Mexico's great wall restricted Brazil

HT Correspondent and Agencies  New Delhi/Fortaleza (Brazil), June 18, 2014
First Published: 03:57 IST(18/6/2014) | Last Updated: 17:14 IST(18/6/2014)

Guillermo Ochoa. Remember this name because you will hear it for some time to come in football World Cup season. The Mexico goalkeeper turned an overnight sensation after throwing up an impenetrable shield around his post against Brazil. 



"The flying Mexican" (Reuters Photo)

 
Mexico frustrated World Cup hosts and five-time champions Brazil and held them to a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Castelao on Tuesday. Brazil had no answers to the brilliance of Ochoa, nicknamed Memo.
 
He pulled off an incredible diving stop from a Neymar header and seven more extraordinary saves to deny the pedigreed Brazil an easy march toward qualification from Group A.
 
Such was his showing that experts suddenly brought up references to the saves of legendary (USSR) goalkeeper Lev Yashin.  


"The great wall of Mexico" (AFP Photo)

Not one of football’s superstars, not even in his own team, Ochoa played his club football for AC Ajaccio in France.
 
The 28-year-old is looking for a new club after quitting Ajaccio following their relegation from Ligue 1. He has been linked with move to Olympique Marseille. This performance will send his ratings soaring. 
 
The social media sphere buzzed with mention of Ochoa after his spectacular show. There were almost 2 million mentions of Ochoa on Twitter during the match, according to Twitter Reverb. The numbers are guaranteed to swell. 

Basketball hero Kobe Bryant hailed "OCHOA!! Incredible" in a tweet within minutes of the game ending. Ochoa's Wikipedia page was hacked to hail him as “the Mexican Jesus after his performance against Brazil”.
 
Ochoa did a lap of honour around the Fortaleza Castelao Stadium after one of the great World Cup goalkeeping performances.
 
He remained poised in his moment of glory. "I believe this was the best match of my life because this was a World Cup game and this is very important," Ochoa said.

Read: Mexico coach hails 'greatest World Cup performance' from Ochoa

"We have to move on, celebrate with my teammates and my family, but move on because the path is still long.
 
“Thank God I made those saves and now it's time to keep on working."
 
Ochoa is the most capped of the three Mexican keepers chosen for this World Cup.
 
He is finding his place in the sun after heartbreak in 2010. He was expected to be first choice at 2010 World Cup in South Africa before then-coach Javier Aguirre opted for veteran Oscar Perez.


"Steeliegoalie" (AFP Photo)

Ochoa won a league title with Mexico City side America in 2005 before moving to France in 2011.
 
A very proud Mexico coach Miguel Herrera put things in perspective after the match. “In my memory, I can’t remember a goalkeeper performing like that in a World Cup.”
 
"I don't know whether I can think of another goalkeeper in memory... someone who has done what Memo did today," Herrera told a news conference.

 "Memo today had high-level saves, gave the certainty to the team that we needed and gave confidence that we're well covered."

"You shall not pass" (Reuters Photo) 

Ochoa came in for praise from Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. "I didn't like the Mexican goalie," Big Phil joked to reporters. "He did very well, he was spectacular. The defences he did were spectacular. Calm, tranquil, he knows how to play, is well positioned.
 
"I think he really was the best player in the match and Mexico has a very good quality team."


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