World Cup 2014: Brazil held to a goalless draw by Mexico
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo
Last Updated: 18/06/14 10:01am
Brazil were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Mexico in their second game in Group A at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.
The hosts were far from their best as they struggled to create too many goalscoring opportunities and when they did they could not find a way past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Ochoa produced four fine saves to deny Brazil in the 90 minutes to earn his side a point which takes both teams to four from their opening two games.
The game began at a fast and frenetic pace as tackles flew in from both sets of players, but chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges.
It took until the 18th minute for the first serious effort at goal and Luiz Gustavo's shot from fully 35 yards flew well wide of the target as Brazil struggled to make any inroads against a well-organised Mexico defence.
Mexico created their first opening of the game on 24 minutes when the ball broke to Hector Herrera on the edge of the box and he fired in a shot which Julio Cesar tipped over the top, but to the amazement of the Mexico players the officals failed to give them a corner and awarded Brazil a goalkick.
Brazil were denied the opener on 26 minutes when Neymar rose highest to meet Dani Alves' cross from the right to head powerfully goalwards only for Ochoa to produce a brilliant save to claw out the ball low down to his right.
Oscar was the next to try his luck for Brazil, but his shot from the edge of the box lacked the power to trouble Ochoa.
Brazil really should have broken the deadlock a minute before the break when they worked a clever free-kick with Thiago Silva chesting Neymar's cross into the path of Paulinho, but Ochoa was quickly off his line to block the midfielder's shot.
Mexico started the better of the two sides in the second half and Herrera went close to scoring on 57 minutes when he turned inside Paulinho and drilled a shot over the top.
Neymar tried to lift the home side from their sluggish start to the second half and he curled a free-kick from 30 yards wide of goal.
Barcelona ace Neymar looked the man most likely to find the breakthrough for Brazil and he went close to scoring on 67 minutes when he took Bernard's cross down on his chest inside the box and fired in a left-footed shot which Ochoa just about kept out.
Brazil should have grabbed a winner four minutes from time when Thiago Silva ghosted unmarked into the box from Neymar's free-kick only to see his point-blank header kept out by Ochoa.
Mexico substitute Raul Jimenez forced Cesar into a good save in stoppage time as Mexico held on to earn a well-deserved point.