From Ground Zero: Brazil run into Mexican Wall
Zee Media Bureau/Shobhan Saxena from Rio de Janeiro
After winning their opening game against Croatia by 3 goals to 1, the Brazilian team was unable to repeat their good performance and drew with Mexico 0-0 on Tuesday evening at the Castelo stadium in Fortaleza. It was the first game of the second round of Group A matches in the World Cup. Despite the below average performance, the Brazilian team created four good chances to score but the Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made fine saves.
It was the second scoreless draw in this World Cup. On Monday, Iran and Nigeria had tied by the same score.
With the draw, Brazil reached four points along with Mexico, who beat Cameroon in their opening game. However, the Brazilian team occupies the first position because of its positive goal balance of 2.
Now Scolari`s team needs only a draw against Cameroon next Monday in Brasilia to make it to the next round. Since 1982, Brazil had not needed the third game of the group stage for qualification to the next round. With the draw, the Brazilian team lost 100% success it had against their rivals in the World Cup games. The Brazilians had beaten the Mexicans in 1950, 1954 and 1962.
In Tuesday’s game, Brazil could have scored at least three goals which were all blocked by Ochoa, who made at least four very good saves. Ironically, Ochoa, who was adjudged man of the match, does not know what he will do after the World Cup. His contract with the French side Ajaccio ended at the end of the last European season and he has not been hired by any other team.
After the game, Ochoa said that this was the best performance of his life. "I believe so (was their most important game). Making this game draw was not easy. I am glad and I will continue working. I`ll Celebrate with my colleagues," he said.
The 28-yea-old goalkeeper has been with the French team since 2011, but he may rather seek a bigger club and maybe compete in the Champions League. The Ajaccio was relegated to the French second division this year. According to rumours on the transfer market, AC Milan could be interested in procuring the Mexican.
While the Mexican goalkeeper became a hero, the game between Russia and South Korea ended in a 1-1 draw, due to a terrible mistake by Russian goalkeeper Akinfeev.
South Koreans opened the scoring with Lee Keun-Ho in the 22 minutes of the second half. The midfielder fired the shot from 30 yards and Akinfeev made partial defense, but the ball slipped through his hands before entering the goal. Six minutes later, the Russian striker Kerzhakov equalized the score. The draw ended a run of three wins for South Korea in the World Cups.
With the result, Russians and South Koreans share the second position of Group H. Belgium leads with three points, while Algeria has not scored yet. In the second round, Russia travels to the Rio de Janeiro, where they face Belgium at the Maracana. The game takes place on Sunday. On the same day, South Korea is facing Algeria at the Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.
Earlier in the day, Belgium beat Algeria by 2-1 in a match held at Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. The Algerian goal was made by Feghouli from the penalty spot in the 24th minute. In the second half, Fellaini, the Manchester United midfielder, equalized and Mertens put the team in lead in the 34th minute.
After qualifying unbeaten for the World Cup with eight wins and two draws, Belgium came to be considered the underdog in the Cup, but the team had a hard time overcoming the Algeria defence.