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Memo Ochoa Nonetheless Has Extra World Cup Magic In Him

The second the World Cup’s group stage draw was finalized, Mexico-Poland immediately stood out as probably the most pivotal sport in Group C. The considering was, Argentina would roll, Saudi Arabia would get ventilated by everybody, and whoever survived the Battle For Chicago would advance because the second-placed workforce from the group. Saudi Arabia’s stunning, comprehensive upset over Argentina raised the stakes even additional, promising a three-point edge for any workforce courageous sufficient to grab the victory, or, on the flip aspect, a three-point gap to the winner and the Saudis with the vengeance of Argentina looming over them just like the sword of Damocles.

A stadium that felt stuffed to the brim with Mexican followers introduced the requisite vitality to the sport, and each groups battled it out for an intense 0–0 draw. The dynamic of the sport was pretty simple—Mexico managed a lot of the ball and attacked by way of Chucky Lozano, whereas Poland waited for its alternatives—if not a bit shocking for individuals who’d watched Mexico all through qualification. As such, neither keeper needed to make a save all through the whole first half. The sport opened up within the second half, as Mexico engineered a handful of promising moments, although the most important likelihood of the sport was Poland’s. Within the 53rd minute, Hector Moreno was known as for a penalty after tussling with Robert Lewandowski within the Mexico field. Each males had been going at it, although the referee adjudged that Moreno, who began the notorious No Period Penal round of 16 game in 2014, prevented Lewandowski from attending to the ball with an excessive amount of pressure.

Lewandowski was at all times going to step as much as the spot. He’s by no means scored a World Cup objective earlier than, he earned the penalty, and likewise, he may be the most effective striker within the whole-ass match. It was his second, time for a killer penalty taker to step up and vault Poland ahead. Just one man stood between Lewandowski and historical past. Downside was, that man is Guillermo Ochoa, who has propelled Mexico along with his goalkeeping heroics for 2 straight World Cups. As Lewandowski stepped up, Ochoa feinted to his proper, dove laborious to his left, and stood robust as Lewandowski rocketed a shot straight into his outstretched arms.

He made the save, and Mexico rode the momentum to press laborious for the remainder of the sport, forcing Ochoa’s reverse, Wojciech Szczesny, to come back up enormous. Mexico supervisor Tata Martino mentioned his workforce in all probability “deserved a bonus at halftime” and that they value themselves three factors by enjoying “predictable and cautious” soccer within the second half. Certain, sure, Mexico ought to have carried out extra to engineer a objective, although clearly the person of the match was Ochoa, who has a protracted historical past of moments like this on the large stage.

An unused substitute within the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, Ochoa lastly acquired his likelihood in Brazil and put forth one of the most legendary goalkeeping performances in World Cup historical past as his workforce drew the hosts 0-0. He performed extraordinarily effectively towards the Dutch within the eventual (and unjust) shedding effort within the spherical of 16, and he adopted that feat up by serving to crush the Germans in 2018. He’s 37, and that is his closing World Cup, which makes his huge day all of the extra spectacular. Most gamers don’t get three World Cups to rack up accolades, nor do many keepers put themselves in place to supply so many constructive highlights. Ochoa saved his workforce alive along with his save right now, and although Mexico must dig deep and play means higher towards Saudi Arabia and Argentina to advance out of the group, they’re nonetheless in it because of their keeper.

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