Mexico and Poland draw and miss a chance to gain the upper hand in their group.
Mexico and Poland played to a 0-0 draw in their opening match of the World Cup, with the Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa emerging as the hero with his penalty kick save in the 58th minute.
Still, Mexico will likely be more disappointed by the result after dominating much of the game. El Tri, as the Mexican team is known, applied pressure for a good part of the first half — much of it through winger Hirving Lozano on the right side — but could not come up with a finish good enough to beat Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. The match took on a different complexion even before kickoff, following Saudi Arabia’s stunning upset of Argentina in the other Group C match on Tuesday. A full 3 points would have set Poland or Mexico up for an especially comfortable path into the knockout rounds, but a tie leaves both teams vulnerable with a dangerous and desperate Argentina lurking at the bottom of the group.
The draw was not for a lack of effort — after a back-and-forth opening to the match, Mexico gradually took control for much of the first half, with Alexis Vega failing to connect well enough on two dangerous crosses from the right side. That was the largely the story for both sides — Mexico working its way into the final third of the field often but failing to put on the finishing touches, and Poland picking its moments on counterattacks that ultimately came up short.
Poland, however, had the game’s best chance after Robert Lewandowski, the 35-year-old star striker for Barcelona, was brought down in the penalty area by Héctor Moreno. But Ochoa made a save that seemed to deliver a new gust of energy to his Mexican teammates, at least for a brief period. But Poland withstood that wave, too, and both teams left still tied in the middle of Group C, with 1 point apiece and a treacherous road ahead in Group C.