Guillermo Ochoa: The Great Wall of Mexico at it again

The best of Guillermo Ochoa was on view at the Luzhniki Stadium during Mexico's Group E match against Germany.

Guillermo Ochoa makes a reflex save to keep Brazil at bay during a Group A match in World Cup 2014.   -  AP

Rekindling memories of his excellent showings in goal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Guillermo Ochoa was at his best during the first half of Mexico's Group E opening match against defending champion Germany.

Guillermo Ochoa attempts to save a Timo Werner shot aimed at the far past with a outstretched right hand.   -  AP

Ochoa's performance against Brazil four years ago showcased his agility, reflexes and acrobatic ability, denying the host a goal and helping Mexico walk away with a point in a Group A match.

While his performance against the Selecao was particularly memorable, Ochoa was among the excellent goalkeepers at the tournament, in which he was barely ever at fault and kept making one great save after another.

Fast forward to Russia 2018 and Ochoa appears to revel on the biggest stage in the sport. By the standards he has set, the kind of saves he had to make against the Die Mannschaft wasn't particularly tough.

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made eight saves in this match, the most he has ever made in a World Cup game.

The difference here was Mexico was Mexico made quite a few forays forward and carried a goal threat almost each time. Manuel Neuer was the busier of the two goalkeepers and so, from Ochoa's viewpoint, he had to be concentrated and alive to danger.

His biggest test came towards the end of the first half, with Toni Kroos setting up for a freekick from an ideal distance. The German struck the ball sweetly, getting it to arc above the wall and come down in time to find the top corner. Ochoa, stood in the centre of the goal, threw himself to his left, his right hand going full stretch to thwart the ball in flight.

Just when the ball seemed to be headed for the top corner, Ochoa got his right hand to the ball, tipped it onto the crossbar and denied Germany the equaliser.

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