Second-round thriller: Brazil defeats Chile

Brazil's Hulk engages the crowd for support during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against...

Brazil's Hulk engages the crowd for support during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Chile at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte June 28, 2014. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:53 PM ET

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- The front page of a Brazilian paper took a shot at Chilean fans on Saturday.

It listed the flight times out of Belo Horizonte, headed to Chile -- a bit presumptuous considering La Roja's recent form.

A few hours later, 55,000 yellow-clad Brazilians weren't laughing inside the Mineirao stadium when Chile's Mauricio Pinilla watched his long-distance effort in extra time come back off the crossbar.

With the South American rivals level at 1-1, Pinilla's strike threatened to send La Roja through to the next round. Instead, it sent this Round of 16 marathon to penalties.

After Neymar gave Brazil a 3-2 lead from the spot, the Chileans were then undone by a second post, only this one led to a loss.

Chile's Gonzalo Jara, needing to score to extend the shootout, watched his effort strike Julio Cesar's left post.

In a country holding its collective breath, the Mineirao, along with all of Brazil, exploded with volume that will continue to echo into the next rounds of the tournament.

GIF: Chile and Brazil...wow, great shots here

Following an exhausting 120 minutes, the Chileans were left with what-ifs.

"That near-goal was hard for us," Chilean manager Jorge Sampaoli said post-game. "It would have been an historic moment for Chile.

"Maybe Brazil was hoping for a penalty round," Sampaoli added. "I think we nearly won this match."

Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo should ask questions of himself. His scuttled punch offered Brazil the corner that David Luiz finished off midway through the first half to put the hosts in front.

The Brazilians were in dreamland until a mistake at the opposite end saw Alexis Sanchez level the proceedings.

A criminal misplay from Hulk off a throw-in deep in Brazil's end allowed Sanchez to collect the ball inside the area before blistering a low hard shot past Cesar -- a mistake Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari blasted post-game.

"These are identical matches sometimes," said Scolari, referring to how the smallest of mistakes can end a game. "If we can't exploit opportunities, we might go out. We could have paid the price."

In this country, that means the ultimate price -- something similar to excommunication.

Had the hosts managed to lose on home soil Saturday, Brazilian papers would have not only printed flight times, but booked out-of-country tickets for Scolari and his crew.

The Brazilian bench boss even took time post-game to not only comment on the game, but also tear a strip off local media.

"Just use this day off," Scolari told media he believes have been over-critical. "Please stay away."

"We have a good team … A lot of today had to do with the fans."

A sea of yellow supporters thought Hulk had found Brazil a winner 10 minutes after the break only to have English referee Howard Webb correctly wave it off due to a handball.

The Chileans then came close at the opposite end just after the hour mark when Sanchez slipped in behind Brazil's back four before cutting a ball back for Charles Aranguiz.

Aranquiz then uncorked a close-range effort that forced Cesar into a reflex save to keep things level.

"I think Brazil will feel more confident after today," Sampaoli said of the test Chile offered.

"If we had been able to score the last time we tried, the afternoon would have been better."

That's not to say Brazil didn't have opportunities to win this thing late.

With the Chileans wilting and resorting to time-wasting tactics, Hulk's cross a quarter-hour from full time fell perfectly to Jo at the back stick, only to see him whiff.

Neymar came close in the 81st minute when he nodded down a cross from Dani Alves that Bravo briefly spilled.

GIF: Neymar imitates Tim Duncan, then Manu Ginobli

Bravo came up even bigger five minutes before full-time when Hulk danced into the area and then blasted a mid-range effort that the Chilean 'keeper somehow laid out to push away, leading to two pressure-packed 15-minute extra time periods.

"Everyone feels the pressure," Scolari said. "If you say you don't, you're lying."

The hosts controlled extra time from start until, well, the very last minute, beginning in the 101st when Oscar headed down a Hulk cross at the back post that Bravo was there to collect .

Bravo was called upon again in the 103rd when he got down to push away another long-distance drive from Hulk.

After the teams switched ends, Jo's header off a corner flashed over the frame.

Then, with a minute left in the match, Pinilla, completely against the run of play, found pace just outside the area.

The seconds leading up to Pinilla's attempt caused a sense of panic inside the stadium until his shot rattled the crossbar.

"It had to go to penalties," Scolari commented after the fact.

So, chants of Cesar went up around the venue.

Coming into the tournament, Scolari was slammed for picking Cesar to be his first-choice 'keeper.

"That's the job of a coach," Scolari said. "I don't need to justify Julio Cesar."

Not anymore, at least.

With fans on their feet, Cesar stopped Chile's first two penalty attempts, leading to a 3-2 win -- and a quarterfinal date with the Colombians.

As for those flights for their other South American neighbours, it seems they'll be full.

RULES? WHAT RULES?

Lost in all of the Julio Cesar madness is the fact at least one of his saves during penalty kicks should have been called back.

Cesar was at least a metre off his line before Mauricio Pinilla struck Chile's first attempt, one Cesar kept out.

According to the laws of the game, a 'keeper must stay on the goal line until the shot is taken.

"I hope in the next matches things won't be decided by the PKs," Cesar said. "Otherwise our families will die by heart attacks."

All of Brazil would have had a collective heart attack if the officials here Saturday would have made the correct call.

*GIF via @cjzero


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