Chile the last team Brazil wanted to meet

Brazil's national soccer head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (L) attends a news conference with player...

Brazil's national soccer head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (L) attends a news conference with player Thiago Silva a day before their World Cup soccer match against Chile at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte June 27, 2014. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 PM ET

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil - This is the last fixture Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari wanted in the Round of 16.

World Cup champions Spain? Bring it on.

The Dutch triangle-led World Cup runner-up? No problem.

But after finishing second to the Netherlands in Group B, Chile the "awkward" team, according to Scolari, now stands between the hosts and a quarterfinal berth.

"Chi Chi Chi! Le Le Le!"

Expect to hear that loud and clear coming through your TV sets when La Roja makes their presence felt Saturday in the biggest match of the tournament to date.

"I'd prefer to play any other side," Scolari told local TV station Globo ahead of the World Cup. "They're organized and their system doesn't fit in with ours."

In other words, the Chileans aren't going to sit back and let Brazil dictate play -- something the Brazilians aren't used to having lost just once over 24 games.

"One thing I can absolutely guarantee is that we're going to play a fast game, regardless of the opposition," Chilean manager Jorge Sampaoli said, according to FIFA. “Every match is different, but our attitude and approach stay the same. Our strategy, tactics and physical fitness will dictate the pace of the game, and we’ll be looking to attack.”

That changes everything for the World Cup favourite, especially its back four.

With Brazilian fullback Marcelo always fighting the opportunity to get forward, Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez will be looking to exploit the space that could be voided.

It will be up to Brazil's deep-lying midfielder Luiz Gustavo to fill any channels that might open.

That's not to say things won't open up for Brazil's top play-makers, too.

Sampaoli has pretty much said Chile will throw caution to the wind at the Mineirao here Saturday.

The Chilean manager even took a shot at the Dutch despite watching La Roja lose to the Oranje 2-0 on the final day of group play.

"We were the ones who went for the win, " Sampaoli spoke out at a FIFA media event. "We played with intensity but we couldn't find a way to break down a team that just defended and shot from distance. "

Chilean fortunes could rest solely on Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal's health.

After being left out of the lineup that lost to the Dutch late last week, Vidal is said to be ready to go following a minor off-season knee procedure.

With Vidal patrolling the middle, it will force Brazil's offensive-minded creators like Paulinho and Oscar to be more mindful at the opposite end of the pitch.

"Arturo is ready to play," Sampaoli added. "Today he is still nowhere near 100% but we all agree that he has to play."

Simply put: Matches like this don't come around that often. In South America, only Brazil-Argentina might be bigger.

But to set that up, the hosts will have to make it all the way to the final in Rio de Janeiro by taking down an in-form neighbour.

The difference-maker, though, could be that of Neymar, the one player Scolari can count on to take a match over.

The Chileans -- no respect to Sanchez -- simply don't have that kind of special player who's capable of finishing off a match out of nowhere.

That said, Neymar's striking partners, Fred and Hulk, have been fairly lacklustre this entire tournament.

For that matter, while still slight favourites, this entire Brazilian side isn't as impressive as previous editions.

“We’re going to play with commitment, courage and our heads held high, ready to face whatever’s thrown at us," Sampaoli told FIFA.

Because that's what Chileans do.

The country even pieced together a pre-World Cup commercial in support of the Chilean team that featured miners who were involved in the Copiapo accident in late 2010.

All 33 trapped miners lived to tell their tale following 69 days in darkness.

One of the survivors, Mario Sepulveda, issued a statement in the World Cup commercial about Chile emerging from a "Group of Death".

"We don't care about death! We have beaten death before! "

Now, like the miners, the Chilean national team will have to do it once more.

"We knew we had millions of Chileans outside who believed in us," Sepulveda says in the commercial.

The World Cup spot finishes with the country's trademark chant: "Chi Chi Chi! Le Le Le!"

Words Brazilian bench boss Scolari didn't want to hear when the draw came out six months back.

LAST TIME THEY MET ...

Despite Brazil skipping out on World Cup qualifying last year, the World Cup hosts still happened to meet Chile in a pre-tournament friendly.

That match, strangely enough, was staged at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Not that we can take much from Brazil's eventual 2-1 win last November.

The match was played indoors on a terrible pitch, with the eventual game-winner coming from a player some think should be here.

Milan striker Robinho was left off Luiz Felip Scolari's roster in favour of Jo and Fred.

And while Fred produced the dive that helped Brazil limp to a 3-1 win over Croatia in its World Cup opener, some are questioning why he's here.

By the end of Saturday, Brazilian fans might be wondering why a few players from the side that beat Chile in Canada weren't here.


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