Weakling set to face bully Brazil

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:07 PM ET

JOHANNESBURG -- To understand the one-sided history of Monday's Round of 16 matchup at Ellis Park Stadium, consider Chile to be the 90-pound weakling who consistently gets sand kicked in his face by the neighbourhood bully.

And in the soccer world, there is no bigger ruffian on the South American block than five-time World Cup champion Brazil.

Heading into this clash of familiar South American foes here in Johannesburg, the Brazilians have shown no mercy on their Chilean counterparts, beating them up on the scoreboard at every opportunity.

In the all-time head-to-head meetings between these two foes, Chile has won just seven of 65 games against their classy opponents. Given that ugly record, most predict Chile will not have a shot this time around either.

But Chile has shown some excellent flair at South Africa 2010 and should not be taken lightly. While dropping both meetings to Brazil during qualifying, they finished just one point behind Dunga's talented team in the group, ahead of teams such as Argentina and Uruguay.

Still, it's hard to believe Chile can come out ahead in this one, especially since it hasn't defeated Brazil in 10 years -- a 3-0 decision back in 2000.

Give Chile credit though. It is talking a good game, for what it's worth.

"Chile will respect Brazil, but we will play our own game. We will pressure and attack from all sides," midfielder Arturo Vidal told reporters.

To hear the Brazilians tell it, they will not take Chile lightly.

"Chile has been improving," Brazilian coach Dunga said. "It has a team with good players and will fight very hard to keep advancing."

If Chile is to pull off the upset, it will have to do it without suspended players Gary Medel, Waldo Ponce and Marco Estrada.

The uphill climb for Chile just got a lot steeper.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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