Cup hosts Brazil held to draw by Mexico

01:51, Jun 18 2014
Fred dive
Another view of the controversy foul on Fred.
Fred dive
Fred goes down. The call was Croatia's Dejan Lovren fouled him, and the resultant penalty put Brazil up 2-1 and turned the match.
Brazil v Croatia
Brazil's Neymar celebrates after scoring a goal from a penalty kick from the Fred foul.
Brazil v Croatia
Croatia's goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa fails to save the penalty.
Brazil v Croatia
Ivan Perisic of Croatia celebrates going 1-0 up as Brazil's Marcelo gets a deflection into the net for an own goal.
Brazil v Croatia
Brazil's Marcelo opens the scoring for the tournament - unfortunately it was an own goal.
Neymar
Neymar, second from left, celebrates with Dani Alves and Fred after his first goal.
Neymar
Hero of the day Neymar celebrates his first goal.
Giovani dos Santos
Giovani dos Santos is irate after a goal is disallowed for the second time against Cameroon.
Giovani dos Santos
Giovani dos Santos finds the back of the net, only for the goal to be disallowed.
Oribe Peralta
Mexico's Oribe Peralta heads the ball down under attention from Cameroon's Aurelien Chedjou.
Miguel Herrara
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera appeals to the fourth official Norbert Hauata after their first goal is disallowed.
Alex Song
Cameroon's Alex Song holds off Mexico's Jose Juan Vazquez.
Oribe Peralta
Oribe Peralta 61st-minute shot off a rebound proved the difference against Cameroon.
David Luiz
David Luiz of Brazil beats Javier Hernandez of Mexico during their World Cup clash at Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Rafael Marquez
Mexico's Rafael Marquez, left, fights for the ball with Brazil's David Luiz during their 2014 World Cup Group A football match.
Francisco Rodriguez
Brazil's Neymar holds the net after a failed attempt at the goal, as Mexico's Francisco Rodriguez smiles, during their World Cup football clash.
Paul Aguilar
Brazil's Neymar (right) fights for the ball with Mexico's Paul Aguilar during their 2014 World Cup Group A football match at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Neymar
Brazil's Neymar reacts during his side's 2014 World Cup Group A football match against Mexico at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Mexico gallery
Mexico's Guillermo Ochoa receives a hug from teammate Paul Aguilar at the end of his side's 0-0 draw with Brazil at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Mario Mandzukic
Mario Mandzukic of Croatia celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Group A match against Cameroon at Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil.
Dany Nounkeu
Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (left) fights for the ball with Cameroon's Dany Nounkeu during their World Cup Group A football clash.
Ivan Perisic
Ivan Perisic of Croatia (second right) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal against Cameroon.
Dejan Lovren
Dejan Lovren of Croatia challenges Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon during their World Cup clash at Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil.
Alexandre Song
Referee Pedro Proenca of Portugal sends off Cameroon's Alexandre Song for a challenge on Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (on ground) during their World Cup match.
Benjamin Moukandjo
Benjamin Moukandjo of Cameroon controls the ball against Danijel Pranjic of Croatia during their Group A World Cup clash.
Fernandinho
Brazil's Fernandinho (second right) celebrates after scoring a goal with teammates during their 2014 World Cup Group A football match against Cameroon at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia.
Fernandinho
Brazil's Fernandinho (second right) celebrates after scoring a goal with teammates during their 2014 World Cup Group A football match against Cameroon at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia.
Fernandinho
Julio Cesar (far left), Fernandinho and Luiz Gustavo of Brazil react after defeating Cameroon 4-1 during their Group A match against Cameroon at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil.
Julio Cesar
Brazil's Fernandinho (right) shoots to score past Cameroon's Nicolas Nkoulou.
Fred
Brazil's Fred (right) celebrates his goal against Cameroon with teammates Neymar (second right) and Daniel Alves (left).
David Luiz
David Luiz of Brazil (left) celebrates his team's third goal, scored by Fred, during the Group A World Cup clash between Cameroon and Brazil at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil.
Ante Rebic
Ante Rebic of Croatia walks off the pitch after receiving a red card during his side's loss to Mexico at Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil.
Andres Guardado
Mexico's Andres Guardado (top) jumps over Croatia's Danijel Pranjic during their World Cup Group A football match in Recife.
Ravshan Irmatov
Referee Ravshan Irmatov of Uzbekistan stands between Mexico's Andres Guardado (left) and Croatia's Darijo Srna during their World Cup Group A football match at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife.
Niko Kovac
Croatia's coach Niko Kovac speaks with Mario Mandzukic after being defeated by Mexico.
Javier Hernandez
Mexico's Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife.
Rafael Marquez
Mexico's Javier Hernandez celebrates teammate Rafael Marquez's goal against Croatia during their World Cup Group A football match in Recife June 23, 2014.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a series of outstanding saves to help Mexico hold Brazil to a thrilling 0-0 draw at the World Cup this morning.

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 tomorrow 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 keeper.

After that, 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.

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''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.''

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.

Brazil had won all three previous World Cup matches between the teams without conceding a goal, but the Latin American rivals hadn't met in the sport's showcase tournament since 1962.

It was an evenly balanced game at the Arena Castelao, with Mexico not allowing Brazil to take control. El Tri didn't play defensively and created chances throughout the match, especially with long-range shots by midfielders Hector Herrera and Jose Vazquez. 

Brazil, playing without injured strike Hulk, turned up the pressure in the second half, but there was no getting past Ochoa.  He denied Paulinho just before halftime, blocking the midfielder's shot after a loose ball inside the area, and then got his body in the way of Neymar's drive from inside the area. In the 86th minute, he was there on cue to block Silva's powerful header from point-blank range.

Fans wearing Brazil's green and yellow colours were the majority as expected, but Mexicans took over large seating sections of the stadium and at times were louder than the local fans. Among those in the crowd of 60,342 was NBA star Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brazil, the only team to play in all 20 World Cups, has reached the second round every time since 1970. Mexico is seeking to advance for its sixth straight appearance in the last 16, where it has been eliminated in the last five World Cups.

Mexico had won six of the last 10 matches, including in the final of the 2012 London Olympics, keeping the Brazilians from earning their first gold medal in football. In their latest match, Brazil won 2-0 in last year's Confederations Cup, also in Fortaleza and also in the second match of the group stage.  

 

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