Brazil were unconvincing in their first game of the FIFA World Cup 2014 against Croatia, with only the brilliance of Neymar and some questionable refereeing seeing them home.
In their second game of the World Cup, Brazil were equally, if not more, unimpressive, running into a Mexican wall that made the Great Wall of China look like a sand castle. And when Brazil did actually penetrate through the stubborn Mexican defence, they found goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in inspired form – unbreachable, unpassable, unbeatable.
In a frustrating day for the hosts, Mexico held their Group A opponents to a 0-0 draw in Fortaleza, the first time Brazil have failed to score in the group stages since 1978.
The hosts don't really know how to drop points in the group phase, either, having won all their games in the last three World Cups, and six of the last eight, but Mexico pulled off the seemingly impossible with a dogged performance which will give them the confidence to push through in their final game against Croatia, and book their place in the last 16.
It was a tough, turgid, cagey contest all the way through, with Mexico sticking to their guns of making it as difficult as possible for the Brazil forwards, while looking to spring on the counter at every opportunity, not with too much effect, though, it must be said.
Brazil took a while to get going in their opening World Cup encounter against Croatia, but this time they did start on the front foot, with adrenaline pumping through their veins after another emotional national anthem in front of the partisan crowd.
Oscar was involved in a couple of moves early on for Brazil, but faded into the periphery soon after, while Neymar, after a slow start, looked to take control, playing in that hole behind the lone striker again. It was very much a slow burner this game, and even when it did catch fire, it did not last too long, with Mexico's discipline, and Brazil's overreliance on Neymar just cancelling the game out.
Brazil did have two wonderful chances to open the scoring in the first half, though, and the scores remained 0-0 at halftime thanks to two wonderful saves from Guillermo Ochoa, the first of those from the absolute top drawer.
Neymar was spinning away thinking he had scored for Brazil for the second straight game after leaping above Rafael Marquez to power a header off a cross from Dani Alves, but Ochoa somehow got his hands to the ball at full stretch to turn the ball away in stunning fashion.
Ochoa would be called into action one more time towards the end of the first half, with the goalkeeper standing tall to deny Paulinho, who only had the goalkeeper to beat after receiving the ball from a nice chest down from Thiago Silva.
Mexico, at the other end, clearly had directions to shoot on sight, and shoot on sight they did, sending Julio Cesar sprawling a few times, even if most of those strikes were well off target.
The Mexicans kept their long-range striking plan on course for the second half as well, with Hector Herrera, so impressive in the first game against Cameroon, coming close and giving Cesar and the majority of the fans at the ground a minor heart attack.
Luiz Felipe Scolari, clearly not happy with Brazil's attacking nous in the first half, made a change at halftime, bringing on Bernard, bag of tricks and pace to burn, for the ineffective Ramires, who had only got into the starting lineup due to an injury to Hulk – Brazil did miss the bulky striker's individual ability and penchant to score goals.
Bernard made an immediate impact, sweeping in a cross from the right after leaving his defender for dead, with the ball crucially headed clear by Francisco Rodriguez with Neymar waiting to pounce just behind him.
Neymar and Ochoa were having a personal duel now, with the Mexican goalkeeper coming up trumps time and again, as another shot from the Brazil forward, this time from eight yards out, was yet again kept out by the outstanding Ochoa.
Central striker Fred, who apart from winning that controversial penalty in the first game against Croatia was unconvincing, was ineffective in this game as well, with Scolari bringing on Jo with a shade over 20 minutes remaining in hope of a late goal.
It was not Jo who nearly gave Brazil that elusive goal, though, but a defender in Thiago Silva. The skipper should have given Brazil all three points four minutes from time, powering home a header, after being left all alone from a Neymar freekick, only to find that unbeatable man Ochoa yet again make another fantastic save.
It was just not to be Brazil's day, try as they may, as Mexico's perseverance, fight and a brilliant goalkeeping performance earned them a famous draw.