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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

FIFA World Cup Roundup: Guillermo Ochoa Stands Out for Mexico in Draw against Brazil, Mertens Rescues Belgium as Russia and South Korea Share Spoils

He may be a free agent now but 28 year old Mexican goalkeeper, Francisco Guillermo Ochoa Magana may have given league club football managers so much to think about after he produced arguably the best performance by any goalkeeper in the ongoing 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The former Ajaccio custodian had a blinder in goal keeping Neymar and co at bay as he helped Mexico grab a point against Brazil. The two sides went into the match at the back of wins against Croatia and Cameroon. A win for either could have almost guaranteed them progress to the knockout stages but Ochoa was a colossal wall between the post for the North Americans who also created enough chances to trouble Julio Cesar in Brazil goal. 

However, it was Ochoa who was the standout goalie on the day the highlight of his plethora of saves coming in the 26th minute when he kept out a goal-bound Neymar header which could have beaten many, a goalkeeper. The barren stalemate ensured Brazil and mexico remain in control of Group ‘A’ tied on 4 points with Croatia and Cameroon who will play later this Wednesday still with no points.

And while Ochoa was having his best game in Mexican colours, Igor Akinfeev of Russia had a torrid time as his comedy of errors culminated in him conceding what should pass as an own goal after failing to hold on to Keun-Ho Lee’s shot in their match against South Korea. The CSKA Moscow keeper had a shaky game from the off as he and South Korean compatriot Jung Sung-Ryong struggled to get hold of the ball. 

It was Akinfeev however who got punished first after spilling Lee’s shot into his own net to give the Koreans the lead in the 68th minute. However, substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov save Russia’s and Akinfeev’s blushes with the leveler in the 74th minute to ensure the two sides shared a point in their opening World Cup game. 

The other game on the night saw Belgium collect a 2-1 win over Algeria but it wasn’t a routine win as expected. The North Africans took a surprise lead inside 25 minutes, Sofiane Feghouli converting a penalty after he had been wrestled down inside the penalty area by Jan Vertoghen.

However, Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini leveled matters with a thumping header after entering the fray in the second half. Another substitute, Dries Mertens riffled in the winner from inside the area after being fed by Eden Hazard to ensure the team seen as the darkhorses begin their campaign with a win.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!