As Brazil faced off against Mexico yesterday all attention was on Neymar and the rest of the Seleção in Fortaleza. One man stole the show from the hosts and firmly put himself on the road to being in the team of the tournament.
Coming into the World Cup, it looked like Francisco Guillermo Ochoa Magaña was going to be spending his whole time at the tournament in Brazil firmly parked on the substitutes bench. Jesus Corona was the Mexico number one and the Cruz Azul 'keeper seemed almost certain to take to the pitch against Brazil, and the rest of Group A.
Then something interesting happened. El Tri manager Miguel Herrera is a bit different to other international managers and he proved it again. 'El Piojo' (The Louse) decided to mix things up in the pre-World Cup friendlies and give all three of his goalkeepers a chance to prove themselves. Alfredo Talavera failed to impress in a loss to Bosnia, while Corona was brought off at half time in both of the friendlies he played in to be replaced by Ochoa.
And the day before the Cup opener vs Cameroon, the Mexican FA released the Starting eleven. And Ochoa was there, the Ajaccio man and soon to be free agent had the perfect chance to put himself in the proverbial shop window. And boy has he taken it.
Two clean sheets in two games, and the brick wall like performance against Brazil have made sure that the 28-year old isn't going to be without a club for long. 'Memo' claimed the man of the match award with the "game of his life" that included six stunning saves to keep Brazil scoreless and leave Mexico fans in no worries that their no. 1 jersey is in safe hands.
Whilst Ochoa may receive attention from Premier League sides - being linked with Arsenal and Liverpool literally minutes after the final whistle - he has noted that he would prefer to continue his career in France, where he has spent the last three seasons after moving from Club América in Liga MX.
Tuesday 17 June will always be the day Ochoa became 'San Memo' to Pueblo Mexicano and to El Tri it could well be the performance that sees them through to the second round of the World Cup, a situation that seemed incredibly unlikely coming into the tournament given their poor form and change of management.
Heroes are made in World Cups and yesterday was Guillermo Ochoa's time to shine far brighter than any of the stars of the Seleção.
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