Brazil may be through but Luis Felipe Scolari will be extremely worried about his team’s form. They came up against a fired-up Chile who could have easily dumped the hosts out of the tournament had Mauricio Pinilla’s effort had been a few inches lower.
It was a magnificent effort by Chile but they will look back on this game as an opportunity lost.
Brazil cannot celebrate too much though. They still haven’t hit their stride and they’ve been lucky thus far not to have been punished. Surely they cannot expect to win the tournament in their current form.
1. Turbo charged start
So much for cagey openings! Brazil and Chile took no time in taking the game to each other with tackles flying and chances being created at both ends. Both sides wanted to make a statement with Brazil looking to stamp their authority whilst Chile was determined not to be cowed.
With the pair playing with such speed and intensity there was bound to be mistakes and lapses of concentration. Chile refused to let Brazil breathe pressing, harrying and on occasions making robust challenges. Indeed their equalizer came as a result of Brazilian laxness and Chilean alertness when Eduardo Vargas nipped in to intercept Hulk’s loose pass to put in Alexis Sánchez.
The Seleção for their part looked to spring quickly as soon as they received the ball and pounced on any errors their South American counterparts made. Luis Felipe Scolari’s side tried to play the ball from back to front to negate the pressing game of the Chileans.
The pace didn’t really let up in the second half but the football did become scrappier as both sides were determined not to be bullied out of the game. Chile though seemed to finish the game stronger in normal time as they pressed an increasingly nervous Brazilian defense for the winner.
In extra time the shoe was on the other foot as the Brazilians upped the tempo and looked for the decisive goal, as it was Chile’s turn to feel fatigued. Even then Chile still had the best chance and it took the crossbar to save Brazil right at the end of extra time.
2. Neymar cut a frustrated figure
Neymar had his chances to score against Chile. From the outset it looked like the stars were not aligned for Neymar as he was the victim of a heavy challenge early on which led to him limping for a few minutes, worrying his Brazilian fans and teammates.
As the game went on the ball didn’t quite run for him, at times he took too long to shoot when presented with an opportunity, there was a header that went agonizingly wide, another that was too close to the goalkeeper, he dropped deeper to get the ball in the second half and wasn’t as effective as in the matches against Croatia and Cameroon.
He was let down by his teammates with the exception of Hulk who did his best to change the game and Júlio César who prevented Chile going ahead in the 65th minute with a stunning save.