Mexico holds host Brazil to 0-0 draw at World Cup

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Mexico, Brazil tie 0-0 in World Cup
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Mexico holds host Brazil to 0-0 draw at World Cup
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa dives for the ball during a Group A football match between Brazil and Mexico in the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Marcelo of Brazil appeals for a penalty during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Marcelo of Brazil appeals for a penalty as Raul Jimenez and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico defend during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Thiago Silva of Brazil attemps to head a goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Julio Cesar of Brazil makes a save during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico makes a save after a header by Thiago Silva of Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico makes a save during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Head coaches Miguel Herrera of Mexico and Luiz Felipe Scolari of Brazil gesture during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Neymar of Brazil, Paulinho abd Jo look dejected after a 0-0 draw in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Neymar of Brazil (2nd R) reacts with teammate Paulinho after their 0-0 draw with Mexico during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Brazil players acknowledge the fans after a 0-0 draw in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Mexico's Marco Fabian, center, fouls Brazil's Neymar, second left, during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Brazil's Neymar, right, goes airborne after a challenge during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Mexico's Rafael Marquez, left, embraces Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa after the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Mexico's Rafael Marquez, left, embraces Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa after the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Brazilian players applaud the crowd after the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
A Brazilian girl tries on a Charro hat, worn by Mexican cowboys, as she talks to a Mexico fan during the 2014 soccer World Cup in Fotaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Mexico faces Brazil today in Fortaleza. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A Mexico soccer fan cheers before his team's World Cup match with Brazil inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Fans cheer prior to the start of the Mexico vs Brazil World Cup match inside the FIFA Fan Fest area in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Mexico soccer fans wave flags during their team's World Cup match with Brazil as they watch a live broadcast on giant television screens in Mexico City's main square, the Zocalo, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
A man reacts as he watches the World Cup soccer match between Mexico and Brazil at his hardware store in the historical district of Mexico City, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Mexico tied Brazil 0-0. (AP Photo/Sean Havey)
A masked girl poses for photo surrounded by Mexico soccer fans as they watch their team's World Cup match with Brazil on giant television screens in Mexico City's main square, the Zocalo, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
A Brazil soccer fan in costume cheers before the start of a live broadcast of a World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
A fan wears contact lenses with the flag of Brazil prior to the start of the Mexico vs Brazil match inside the FIFA Fan Fest during the 2014 soccer World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (13) bats the ball away after a header by Brazil's Fred, left, during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa makes a save during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Mexico's Giovani dos Santos, left, looks on as Brazil's Dani Alves, right heads a ball during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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By Tales Azzoni

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) - Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a series of outstanding saves to help Mexico hold Brazil to a thrilling 0-0 draw at the World Cup on Tuesday.

The result leaves both teams with four points each after two games in Group A, but Brazil is ahead on goal difference going into their decisive final matches. Croatia and Cameroon meet on Wednesday for their second games after both opened with defeats.

Ochoa's first remarkable save prevented Neymar from scoring in the 26th minute. The Brazil striker's powerful header looked set to fly just inside the post when the goalkeeper dived to his right to push the ball wide.

Ochoa also made three other difficult saves to keep the hosts from breaking the deadlock - a shot by Paulinho in the 44th, a second-half effort by Neymar from inside the area and a close-range header by Thiago Silva in the 86th minute which produced a remarkable block by the Mexico keeper.

After that, there was still time for a thrilling end to the game in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.

The referee dismissed Brazilian claims for a penalty after Marcelo seemed to have been grabbed in the 88th minute. Mexico then had two great chances, first with Andres Guardado's shot over the crossbar in the 90th and then with an effort by Raul Jimenez that was stopped by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in injury time.

"In the end, the 0-0 mirrors what happened, it was a very hard-fought match," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "The draw wasn't a good result because a victory would have already allowed us to advance, but we need to be able to respect our opponent, which played very well."

A win by either team would have guaranteed a spot in the next round if Cameroon and Croatia were to draw in the jungle city of Manaus.

Brazil had won all three previous World Cup matches between the teams without conceding a goal, but the Latin American rivals hadn't met in the sport's showcase tournament since 1962.

It was an evenly balanced game at the Arena Castelao, with Mexico not allowing Brazil to take control. El Tri didn't play defensively and created chances throughout the match, especially with long-range shots by midfielders Hector Herrera and Jose Vazquez.

Brazil, playing without injured strike Hulk, turned up the pressure in the second half, but there was no getting past Ochoa.

He denied Paulinho just before halftime, blocking the midfielder's shot after a loose ball inside the area, and then got his body in the way of Neymar's drive from inside the area. In the 86th, he was there on cue to block Silva's powerful header from point-blank range.

Fans wearing Brazil's green and yellow colors were the majority as expected, but Mexicans took over large seating sections of the stadium and at times were louder than the local fans. Among those in the crowd of 60,342 was NBA star Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brazil, the only team to play in all 20 World Cups, has reached the second round every time since 1970. Mexico is seeking to advance for its sixth straight appearance in the last 16, where it has been eliminated in the last five World Cups.

Mexico had won six of the last 10 matches, including in the final of the 2012 London Olympics, keeping the Brazilians from earning their first gold medal in football. In their latest match, Brazil won 2-0 in last year's Confederations Cup, also in Fortaleza and also in the second match of the group stage.

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