Few players have managed to capture the imagination of fans at the World Cup stage in the manner that Guillermo Ochoa has.
Playing in his fifth World Cup, Ochoa is one of those players who has delivered time and again on the international stage but has not managed to earn a “high-profile” move like others, for example, James Rodriguez of Columbia.
His fame first rocketed when he stopped six shots in the 2014 WC match against Brazil, a game he has since called the “game of a lifetime”.
This fame though, it appears, is restricted to the global stage only. It is as if the player does not exist in non-WC years but suddenly is the talk of the town come to the prestigious tournament.
Come Qatar 2022, as has been the norm, he’s in the headlines again.
Mexico faced Poland in their opening game yesterday, with Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowski itching to break his world cup duck.
It was perfectly set up for him at Stadium 974 when VAR awarded the Poles a penalty shortly in the second half.
And there he was again, the “king” of the World Cups, Ochoa saved his shot, and the game went on to finish scoreless.
And the memes, or rather, the appreciation started.
Opposition goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was in equally good form when he saved Martin’s header to keep the scoreboard undisturbed.
Raul Jimenez, Mexico’s first-choice striker and returning from a long-term injury, was subbed on later in the game but could not create the impact coach Gerardo Martino wanted.
Group C is set up nicely after one round of games, especially with Saudi Arabia’s shock 2-1 victory against Messi-led Argentina.
Mexico will want Ochoa in his best possible form if they wish to progress through to the knockout stages of the tournament.
At 37, this is quite possibly Ochoa’s last world cup and he would like nothing more than to bow out leaving a legacy behind.