DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa says people still come up to him on the street to gush about his performance in the 2014 World Cup against Brazil.
Ochoa made six saves in the scoreless draw with Brazil, which was among the favorites as the tournament’s host. He even denied Brazilian star Neymar on a header and afterward called it the “game of a lifetime.”
“I feel really grateful to be recognized globally, that means you have done good work,” Ochoa said Tuesday.
A towering fixture on Mexico’s roster since 2005, the 6-foot goalkeeper recalled the match eight years ago as he prepared to play in his fifth World Cup. Mexico opens the tournament on Tuesday against Poland in Group C. Argentina and Saudi Arabia are also in the group.
“I have seen how he plays in the World Cups and he has always been a genius. I especially remember what happened in 2014 and, to be honest, he is an excellent goalkeeper, with a lot of experience, Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny said.
Ochoa is among four players in Qatar who will join an exclusive group with five World Cup appearances, including Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Mexico teammate Andrés Guardado.
Before Qatar, there were only four players in the five-time club: Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Germany’s Lothar Matthaus and Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and Rafa Márquez.
Guardado and Ochoa hold the distinction of being the first teammates to play together in five straight World Cups.
Both made their debuts with the Mexican national team on Dec. 14, 2005, a 2-0 friendly victory over Hungary.
“I think that by being in my fifth World Cup I am lucky,” Ochoa said through an interpreter. “On top of that, being in a World Cup is never easy for a footballer. There are great players throughout history who don’t have the opportunity. For me, playing in five has been wonderful.”
Mexico has appeared in the last eight World Cups and has advanced to the knockout round in the last seven.
Mexico also has oldest player at the World Cup, fellow goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, who is 40. Ochoa is 37, while Guardado is 36.
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