Héctor Herrera
Héctor Herrera in Mexico’s match against Germany in the 2018 World Cup. Photo by Dmitry Sadovnikov/Wiki Commons/Soccer.ru

It could be argued that Mexico sealed its fate in the 2018 FIFA World Cup last Wednesday in the match against Sweden. Mexico’s lackluster performance continued Monday against Brazil, losing 2-0.

The loss is still stunning for Mexico, riding a wave of optimism after it opened the tournament with an upset against the reigning World Cup champion Germany. Instead, Mexico will be going out again in the first knockout game.

This is the seventh straight World Cup in which Mexico made it out of group play only to be eliminated in the first knockout match.

In many ways, it was expected. Brazil is a better team than Sweden. The win is the third shutout for Brazil in this World Cup.

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior scored early for Brazil in the second half from a cutback Willian Borges da Silva at the 51st minute.

Almost immediately, Brazil, not wanted to repeat Spain’s mistake, went hunting for its second goal but Mexico goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, determined not to make it easy. Ochoa had a total of nine saves in the match. He became the first goalkeeper in this World Cup to make 20 saves.

But Ochoa was no match for the combined efforts of Neymar and Roberto Firmino in the 88th minute. Neymar charged down the left of the goal with a shot that went past Ochoa but Ochoa got a toe on it, knocking it out. Firmino, however, caught the ball in the goalmouth and tapped it in.

With that, Brazil sent Mexico packing from the World Cup.