Goalie Guillermo Ochoa becomes an instant hero in Mexico
SAO PAULO, Brazil — Mexico’s soccer heroes tend to be strikers, the home run hitters of the sport. Players like Hugo Sanchez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco and more recently Chicharito Hernandez and Oribe Peralta are the guys who get the sponsorships and move the T-shirts.
Tuesday they all had to move aside for a goalkeeper. Because Guillermo Ochoa’s remarkable performance in Mexico’s scoreless draw with Brazil turned him into a national hero in the span of 90 minutes, even inspiring a impromptu street party with hundreds of fans gathering at the city’s Angel of Independence statue.
Tuesday’s draw leaves Mexico unbeaten after two games, moving the team a big step closer to advancing out of World Cup group play.
Thousands watched the game in Mexico City’s sprawling Zocalo square, calling Ochoa’s name and chanting “goalkeeper, goalkeeper” during a performance that included four saves Brazilian forward Fred later called “four miracles.”
Memes of Ochoa clad in a Superman suit or dressed as St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, quickly made the round on social media. Even President Enrique Pena Nieto offered a tribute on Twitter, saying “Today Mexico demonstrated its greatness.”
U.S.-Ghana sets TV record
The U.S. team’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday drew more than 11 million viewers to ESPN and another 1.4 million to the WatchESPN app, making it the most-watched men’s soccer game in the network’s history. It was also the network’s highest-rated broadcast since college football’s BCS title game in January.
Nielsen, which measures TV viewership, said another 4.8 million people in the U.S. watched the game on the Spanish-language Univision network, giving the game a total national audience of 15 million.
Australia won’t sit back against Dutch
Australia, the first team to arrive in Brazil for the World Cup, also figures to be among the first to leave. But the lowly Socceroos won’t be doing so with their tails between their legs.
Australian Coach Ange Postecoglou said he plans to push forward against the Netherlands in a Group B game on Wednesday even after watching the Dutch put up five goals on Spain in its opener.
“We have said right from the start that’s not why we came to the World Cup,” Postecoglou said. “It will be an enormous challenge for us to stop their attacking game, but the other side of that is if we just try to defend for 90 minutes there will be only one result — and it won’t be in our favor.”
Australia lost its opener last week, falling to Chile 3-1. A loss Wednesday would leave it with virtually no chance of advancing out of group play — especially with defending World Cup champion Spain looming as its next opponent.
“We keep saying we want to measure ourselves against the best, and we are getting an opportunity to do that,” Postecoglou, who took over the Australian program in October, said. “Tomorrow we will find out where we are at.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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