What to do when there’s no winner at all? One of the hurdles that can make the World Cup a difficult thing to jump into and immediately understand is the scoring system involved in the group stages, where draws (also known as ties), losses, and wins are all measured differently in determining who ends up in the round of 16 and who ends up going home. There’s another related question many relative neophytes have: how can a 0-0 game be exciting? Which, if you think about it, is a silly question on the face of it. The only real difference is that in soccer, the game’s over when the time runs out.
So. The cheering. Mexico didn’t win. Why are they so pumped about it? Think about it this way: not only did they not lose, they also played better than Brazil for the vast majority of the match. Brazil, who famously hasn’t lost a game at home in over a decade, has spent a pair of games holding on to the skin of their teeth (and some very favorable home field nods) to come away with one win and one draw. They could have very easily lost both games, and they’re Mexico’s biggest rival in Group A. With Brazil and Mexico tied at 4 points apiece, both countries look like the favorites from their group — which is rounded out by Croatia and Cameroon, to advance to the next round — since the top two teams both move on.
That’s really not what it’s all about — a loss would’ve made the gulf between them and the other two teams that much shorter, while a draw ensured that they kept pace with the prohibitive favorites to win the entire thing. The fact that they were the better team for roughly 60 minutes of playing time was just icing on the cake. Mexico and Brazil are currently holding on to four points each, while Cameroon and Croatia have none.