Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World cup 2014 : Brazil vs Mexico 0-0

It was the 2nd match for both Brazil & Mexico, having clocked a win in their first match respectively......both needed a win to secure a place in the knock out stage. It was a match between Brazilian flair & pomp against regulation, copybook football by Mexico. The match eventually ending in a goal less draw, the first time since 1978 that Brazil failed to score in a Group stage match & also ended their 10 match winning streak in international football.
Brazil has many stars in their ranks, but Mexico has workmanlike players.....they just love to play....they dont get bogged down by their opponents, they dont complain of playing conditions, be it hot & humid or cold & windy, they just get about their business of playing....they are always a tough bunch to pay against, & they remain one of the most underrated teams in the World of Football....
Many may disagree with me, but for me this was the best match till date in the tournament, where both the teams were equals....it was hard to chose between the two.....& the scoreline eventually was a nil nil....Gods would have found it unfair to award a goal to any of the team, as both had their fair chance of exchanges. Both the teams enjoyed almost equal ball possession & attacked at will....both the teams looked good to win....both the teams played a fair game.....& a word for the Turkish referee Cakir....he was in total control of the game....no unnecessary cards out.....talking to the players as & when needed & controlling the game throughout....though many a Brazilian supporter might say that he could have given a penalty, when Marcelo was brought down in the Mexican box.....arguably a debatable decision.

In fact, I would go a step further & say that despite the fact that Brazil played a shade under par, they would have walked away victorious with at least a margin of 2-0, but for the Mexican Goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa. He was simply superb.....playing in a different zone of his lifetime...blessed with exceptional anticipation & ability to block almost everything that came towards his bar !!!.....one save will remain etched in memory for a long while.....a Neymar header in the 1st half, that was certainly going in & the whole stadium had got up in raucous cheer.....& Ochoa was not even in position...but he anticipated & flew to his right to palm out the ball....stunning everybody into silence...it was peach incredible....the commentators were comparing this effort with Gordon Banks' save off a Pele header in 1970 edition at Mexico, considered to be the save of the century !!.....another one was towards the end of the match when Thiaggo Silva headed in a goalmouth melee & again Ochoa simply blocked the ball on reflexes.....the Brazilians were aghast & stunned into silence.....they could not believe, this was happening.......certainly the best goalkeeping till date in this tournament ( I hope the Barcelona officials & new coach Enrique were watching & are planning to rope him for the next season, as they badly need a replacement of Victor Valdes ).
Mexico also had plans for Brazilian defense.....they knew it would be difficult to breach the formidable Thiaggo Silva & David Luis & then Julio Cesar in goal.....so they played pressure football till the third half of Brazilian defense & then tried booming long rangers.....they attempted at least seven - eight times & every one of them sailed inches away from the bar, with Cesar stretched completely....a couple of them were palmed off for corners by Cesar....he was assured under the bar & made a couple of very good saves as well....Brazil defense was not breached today.....but it left a lot of questions for coach Scolari to be thinking about....under pressure, the defense does look ragged at times & without a cushion of a goal, the team could struggle in the knockout stages....they will have to work out an alternate plan B to succeed ahead.
Of the forwards, Fred is looking off colour till now, Hulk is nursing an injury, & the midfield supply line from Paulinho & Gustavo is still not as assured...only Oscar looks good & wonder kid Neymar is threading through opposition....the team certainly needs to bind & combine better & need to have more penetrative set piece situations.
Meanwhile, Mexico now has a realistic chance of going into the knockout stages...they need just a draw in their match against Croatia.


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