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HomeSportsHerrera hails ‘greatest World Cup performance’ from Ochoa

Herrera hails ‘greatest World Cup performance’ from Ochoa

HerreraMexico coach Miguel Herrera admitted that he had never seen a better goalkeeping display at the World Cup than that by Guillermo Ochoa in his side’s 0-0 draw with Brazil.

Ochoa’s heroics helped Mexico frustrate the tournament hosts in Fortaleza and left El Tri needing just a point to qualify for the last 16.

And Herrera acknowledged yesterday that even ‘Memo’ Ochoa’s great compatriot Jorge Campos, the flamboyant ‘keeper of the 1990s, never produced such a decisive performance at the very highest level.

“In my memory I can’t remember a ‘keeper who performed like that in a World Cup. Campos was great but Memo gave the security to the team which we needed at the back,” said Herrera, before adding that his decision to select the 28-year-old ahead of Jose Corona and Alfredo Talavera had been fully justified.

“I decided to pick these three for the World Cup and then I had to select a first-choice `keeper. It was never in my mind to start changing. I sat down with my backroom staff and my goalkeeping coach (Jose Torruco).

“It wasn`t that the other two did not look solid but we decided that Memo looked just a tiny bit better than them. That`s why we decided that Memo would be our `keeper at the start of the World Cup.”

Mexico`s solid start to the tournament means that, regardless of what happens in Wednesday`s meeting of Croatia and Cameroon in Manaus, a draw against the Croats in Recife on Monday, June 23, will take them into the last 16.

The football-mad country has reached the last 16 at each of the last five World Cups, but their only two quarter-final appearances have come when they hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986.

Now Herrera — who was only appointed coach at the end of last year — believes that, despite struggling desperately just to qualify for the finals, they are ready to take the next step forward in their development.

“The team did a great job. All the credit has to go to the players. When my players did what we are accustomed to doing — even if we have not been working together for very long — we dominated and caused problems for Brazil.

“I don`t know if we are a rock in the shoe of our opponents but today Mexico showed that we are ready to make another step forward and in the next game we will see if we can get through to the next round.”

He added: “Obviously getting a result against the side who have won the most titles, the hosts, the favourites to win the World Cup, is something that gives us peace because our fans are happy.

“Mexico are improving. We need to stop thinking that we are the best in our region because it almost cost us our place in Brazil.

“If we always play like this we will be contesting the top spots with the best sides rather than suffering just to get to a World Cup.”

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