The Round of 16 began and it was only fitting that Brazil kick off this round too. They were up against a spirited Chile side and after a string of impressive performances, we could not pick between the two sides. Brazil had won all 3 of their World Cup games versus Chile and they could draw some inspiration from that. It was a tale of drama and tension; an intense encounter. The Round of 16 could not have had a better start.
The game kicked off with a lot of roars and cheers for the home side as expected and they did not disappoint. Within 20 minutes, David Luiz had apparently scored his first goal for Brazil, though it did seem like an own goal in the replays shown later. But soon Chile started asserting themselves and their swagger was seen. They boast a formidable record of allowing teams the least time on the ball, with 12.4 seconds per possession, and it was evident.They pressed hard, fought with some guile and were quick in moving the ball. Their performance reaped rewards, with Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez putting Chile level. A loose ball by Hulk was latched on to by Vargas, who played into Alexis’ path and the winger made no mistake, driving the ball home from some 15 yards out. Game on, and it seemed Chile were looking slightly better. There was still hope for Brazil as this was as the last time Brazil had conceded in the second round of the World Cup (also against Chile, in 1998) they had gone on to win 4-1. At half time it stayed 1-1.
It would stay the same until 120 minutes, but chances were aplenty for both sides. Hulk had a goal disallowed. He controlled the long ball and rolled it into the back of the net, only for his celebrations to be cut short by the referee who felt Hulk had handled the ball before. The goal didn’t stand and the replays showed that maybe, just maybe, Hulk’s goal should’ve been given. Hulk was rightly furious and it seemed he’d turn into something big and green and knock the referee’s head off. We personally feel that it wasn’t a hand and that referee Howard Webb, who is the only Englishman to make it to the R/16, got it wrong. Chile came close on a number of occasions, only to be denied by a mesmerizing Julio Cesar. Brazil were stopped plenty of times too, with Neymar coming close to scoring. Brazil seemed wayward with their passing and enjoyed only a 69.5% completion rate, their lowest of the tournament. The game seemed destined for extra time and it would be so.
Extra Time saw Brazil get a few half-chances,especially with Jo coming really close. Also, Pinilla nearly won the game for chile when he smashed a shot against the crossbar with Cesar rooted to the spot. Brazil had never scored in their previous 5 World Cup extra time periods, and this was no different. We would have penalties.
Brazil seemed more confident of winning it in penalties and they started the proceedings through David Luiz. The last seven shoot outs at World Cups had been won by the team going first, so Brazil had the statistical advantage. First up to the spot was the most expensive Defender in the world, David Luiz. With his trademark long run up from outside the box, one might have expected him to smash it into the centre but he surprised most with a perfectly placed penalty to Claudio Bravo’s right. Next up, for Chile, was Mauricio Pinilla who came so close to knocking Brazil out during standard time. Alas! Today was not his day as he missed his penalty too. It was a poor shot, right into the centre and was easily saved by Julio Cesar. Chelsea’s Willian stepped up for Brazil and his cocky run resulted in him scuffing his shot and hitting it wide. Alexis Sanchez could not convert either, while Marcelo scored followed by Aranguiz who blasted the ball into the right top corner. Then, Claudio Bravo saved Hulk’s penalty, and Marcelo Diaz made it 2-2, with one left apiece. Neymar, the Golden boy with Golden shoes stepped up and buried it into the bottom corner. It would turn out to be the winner as Gonzalo Jara’s penalty hit the post and Chile were eliminated 3-2 on penalties. They lost the game, but won our hearts.
Brazil will now face Colombia/Uruguay and will have to play tonnes better if they want to make it through to the semis. It was a day when they were outran by the Chileans, who had a distance covered average of 8.34 km to Brazil’s 7.07km. Chile, only had themselves to blame for this defeat. It was a really intense encounter and kept us constantly on our toes. That being said, our deepest sympathies to Chile, who we felt deserved more out of this. Even the ardent Brazilian fan has to say Chile were the better team, by a slender margin though. Congratulations to the Selecao, whose beautiful game will continue in this tournament. The Brazilian dream lives on.
FIFA Man Of The Match: Julio Cesar
We understand why this was given. In such pressuring times, Cesar rose to the occasion and saved 2 penalties and also did a great job for Brazil during regulation time. He was stunning and decisive while keeping and made the difference during the shootout.
Our Man Of The Match: Alexis Sanchez
Probably Chile’s best out-field player. Everything that was worth watching from an attacking sense went through the Barcelona star and Brazil had no answer to his mazy runs from deep. Equalised with a good finish to claim his 2nd goal of the tournament, but he will be aghast by his poor penalty.
Our Flop Of The Match: Fred
The much-maligned forward has not enjoyed an impressive tournament and he was poor yet again. Brazil often tried to make the most of Chile’s height disadvantage, but Fred just was not there to capitalise. It was a lazy display by the striker and Jo looked much sharper after coming on, don’t be surprised to see him start the next game.