If there’s one goalkeeper oppositions hate playing against in international games, especially at FIFA World Cups, it’s Guillermo Ochoa.
The Mexican goalkeeper was, once again, the saviour for his national football team in a group stage match against Poland of the FIFA World Cup 2022, where he made several great saves, including a penalty from ace striker Robert Lewandowski, to keep a clean sheet and earn his team a point.
However, this is not the first instance where Ochoa has faced a litmus test on the biggest stage in football and passed with flying colours.
In a World Cup 2014 group phase match against hosts Brazil, Guillermo Ochoa was unbeatable as he gave another stunning individual performance to salvage a 0-0 draw for Mexico.
Guillermo Ochoa made six crucial saves, including a couple of close-range headers from Neymar and Thiago Silva, to shut out a star-studded Selecao attack.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia also saw Guillermo Ochoa shut out one of the finest teams in football, the then reigning champions Germany this time.
Mexico faced Die Mannschaft in their opening game of the 2018 campaign. Guillermo Ochoa was unbreachable yet again as he made as many as nine saves to keep the 1-0 scoreline unchanged at the end of 90 mins, which played a crucial part in Germany failing to make it beyond the group stage.
Guillermo Ochoa’s career
Despite becoming a folk hero in Mexico courtesy his performances wearing the goalkeeping gloves, Guillermo Ochoa never wanted to be a goalkeeper.
Early on in his career, Ochoa preferred playing as a striker. However, his coaches believed that he would be better in goal, which proved to be decisive in shaping his career between the sticks.
The Mexican football player has played for several clubs across the globe, but his first employer, Club America, a Mexican top-flight club, gave him the platform to become what he is today.
Having spent seven years at Club America, he played a staggering 291 matches across all competitions before he decided to move on for a fresh challenge.
Ochoa played for various teams across Europe between 2011 to 2019, making a name for himself before returning to his boyhood club in 2019 and continues to feature for them to date.
Who is Guillermo Ochoa’s idol?
Guillermo Ochoa, the current Mexican national football team captain, idolises former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. Ochoa has revealed that his goalkeeping style is largely influenced by Schmeichel, who is regarded as one of the greatest shot-stoppers of all time and was known for his unconventional style.
Guillermo Ochoa’s achievements and titles
Throughout his illustrious career, Guillermo Ocho has won a host of individual laurels, including two Golden Glove awards in his first stint at Club America and one each at the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2019 and CONCACAF Champions League 2021.
His major successes with the Mexican team are the quartet of CONCACAF Gold Cup trophies in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2019 in addition to a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
At the age of 37, Guillermo Ochoa has aged like a fine wine and continues to stand by his team like a proverbial wall. He is currently the most-capped goalkeeper for the Mexican national football team.
Featured image: Alamy