The 28-year-old goalkeeper justified his selection by making six saves as El Tri took a point off the host nation.
But Ochoa did get his chance. And he sure has made the most of it.
After shutting out a lifeless Cameroon attack Friday, Ochoa turned in the most spectacular goalkeeping performance of this World Cup so far on Tuesday, holding host Brazil to a scoreless draw.
The 28-year-old make six saves — four of the stunning variety. In the 26th minute, he made a sprawling stop to deny a Neymar header. Just before halftime, he charged out to deny Paulinho. He again stoned Neymar in the 69th minute. And he parried away Thiago Silva's point-blank header with four minutes remaining.
While those were the flashiest moments for Ochoa, he commanded his area as well, coming up with a pair of catches and a punch to kill Brazilian buildups.
To coach Miguel Herrera, it would appear he went 2 for 2 with his toughest coaching decisions going into this World Cup. Up top, Giovani dos Santos responded to beating out Javier Hernandez by delivering a standout performance against Cameroon. Now Ochoa has shown why he deserved to start over the 33-year-old Corona between the posts.
And largely thanks to the contributions of those two players, Mexico finds itself a point away from securing passage to the knockout round once more.