Mexico, Brazil Tie Without Scoring
FORTALEZA, Brazil- Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a series of outstanding saves to help Mexico hold Brazil to a thrilling 0-0 draw at the World Cup on Tuesday.
The result leaves both teams with four points each after two games in Group A, but Brazil is ahead on goal difference going into their decisive final matches. Croatia and Cameroon meet on Wednesday for their second games after both opened with defeats.
Ochoa’s first remarkable save prevented Neymar from scoring in the 26th minute. The Brazil striker’s powerful header looked set to fly just inside the post when the goalkeeper dived to his right to push the ball wide.
Ochoa also made three other difficult saves to keep the hosts from breaking the deadlock – a shot by Paulinho in the 44th, a second-half effort by Neymar from inside the area and a close-range header by Thiago Silva in the 86th minute which produced a remarkable block by the Mexico goalkeeper.
“It was the match of my life,” said Ochoa, who was visibly moved after the match. “To do it in a World Cup, in front of all the fans, it’s incredible.”
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera called Ochoa the “hero” of the match.
“He did what we expected him to do, he came up with extraordinary saves,” Herrera said.
After stopping Silva’s header, there was still time for a thrilling end to the game in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
The referee dismissed Brazilian claims for a penalty after Marcelo seemed to have been grabbed in the 88th minute. Mexico then had two great chances, first with Andres Guardado’s shot over the crossbar in the 90th and then with an effort by Raul Jimenez that was stopped by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in injury time.
“In the end, the 0-0 mirrors what happened, it was a very hard-fought match,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “The draw wasn’t a good result because a victory would have already allowed us to advance, but we need to be able to respect our opponent, which played very well.”
Herrera was clearly pleased with his side’s performance.
“We had a great match against a great rival playing in front of its fans, in its stadium, in its country,” Herrera said. “We showed that we can play at the same level as any other team.”
A win by either team would have guaranteed a spot in the next round if Cameroon and Croatia were to draw in the jungle city of Manaus.
Russia 1, South Korea 1
CUIABA, Brazil (AP) – Alexander Kerzhakov scored with one of his first touches after coming on as a substitute to earn Russia a 1-1 draw with South Korea on Tuesday in a World Cup match marked by the first big goalkeeping error of the tournament.
Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev spilled Lee Keun-ho’s speculative shot into his own net to gift South Korea a 68th-minute lead at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba in Group H.
But Kerzhakov bailed his teammate out, turning in a shot from close range in the 74th – three minutes after coming on as a substitute – to rescue a point for Russia in a poor-quality match.
Belgium 2, Algeria 1
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) – Belgium opened its World Cup Group H campaign with a 2-1 comeback win over Algeria on Tuesday, relying on second-half goals from two substitutes.
Marouane Fellaini’s strong glancing header in the 70th minute with his back to goal came from a Kevin De Bruyne cross. Fellaini had only come onto the pitch five minutes earlier and was coach Marc Wilmots’ final substitution.
Ten minutes later, Dries Mertens’ shot beat Algeria’s goalkeeper from close range after Eden Hazard set him up for the decider. Mertens came on at the start of the second half.
Algeria attacking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli converted a penalty to give his country a surprise lead in the 25th.