MEXICO CITY – Mexican soccer fans found a new hero in goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who made a series of key saves in a tie with Brazil that stoked hopes that their team can advance in the World Cup.
Thousands watched the heart-stopping action in Tuesday's match on huge screens set up in Mexico City's vast main square known as the Zocalo. They jumped and screamed during each of Ochoa's four saves.
Some in the crowd chanted "Goalkeeper! Goalkeeper!" and waved Mexican flags. Others screamed "Ochoa! Ochoa!"
After the game ended in a 0-0 draw, hundreds walked to the capital's Angel of Independence statue for an impromptu street party that was broken up hours later by heavy rain.
Social media were abuzz with memes of Memo Ochoa clad in a Superman suit, adorned with Mexico's presidential sash, and dressed as St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes and a favorite among Mexico's poor.
The game's result left Mexico with a victory and a tie, giving it a good shot at advancing out of the tournament's first round.
"Today Mexico demonstrated its greatness," President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote on his Twitter account.
Tuesday's march seemed to re-energize Mexico fans who at start of the World Cup seemed resigned to seeing their team head home after the round of matches.
After Mexico's 1-0 victory over Cameroon last week, only a couple of hundred fans celebrated at the Angel of Independence.
One fan, Jorge Garcia, said the national soccer team showed Tuesday that it can face off the big teams.
"I believe Mexico has realized it can take on any team," Garcia said.