Brazil and Mexico played out just the second tie of the group stage to date, an entertaining 0-0 game that was a far cry from the tournament’s other scoreless draw, a dull match between Iran and Nigeria.
There was no shortage of chances in this game, with the two teams combining for 28 shots (12 on goal). The majority of chances were Brazil’s, and Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa absolutely shone for Mexico as he made a number of stunning saves to preserve the shutout. The home team was unable to get past Ochoa, who turned in a Man of the Match performance and justified Miguel Herrera’s decision to give him the starting role over pre-World Cup favorite José de Jesús Corona.
Brazil had the edge in possession and were dominant for much of the game, but Mexico turned on the pressure in the second half and had a good fifteen or twenty-minute spell. Mexico is an attacking team and although they were unable to find the breakthrough, that spell not only gave their defense a respite but also showed Brazil that they needed to be wary of Mexico’s attacking threat.
The draw is a good result for El Tri, but it will disappoint Brazil and their fans, who were likely anticipating a perfect group stage record. Both teams are looking good to advance, although Cameroon and Croatia, who don’t play their second game until tomorrow, could still make things interesting.
Thankfully for all involved, there was not much refereeing controversy in this one. Cuneyt Cakir and his crew did not award any phantom penalties or questionably disallow any goals. Marcelo will argue that he should have won a penalty late on, but contact was minimal and the Brazilian went down looking for a call that never came. Cakir was neither too strict nor too lenient and turned in an overall solid performance.
With Cameroon and Croatia not playing until Wednesday, the Group A table currently looks like this: Update: Croatia beat Cameroon 4-0. Table updated to current standings:
In their final group stage game, Mexico will take on Croatia on Monday, June 23rd at 4:00 PM, while Brazil and Cameroon will face off in a simultaneous game. The top two teams in the group will advance to the Round of Sixteen.
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Paul Aguilar, Rafael Márquez, Héctor Moreno, Francisco Rodríguez, Miguel Layún, Héctor Herrera (Marco Fabián 76′), José Juan Vázquez, Andrés Guardado, Giovani dos Santos (Raul Jiménez 84′), Oribe Peralta (Javier Hernández 74′).
Brazil: Julio César, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Paulinho, Neymar, Oscar (William 84′), Ramires (Bernard 46′), Luiz Gustavo, Fred (Jô 68′).