Brazil vs. Chile: 2014 FIFA World Cup | Round of 16 Match Preview
Brazil won Group A on the strength of wins over Croatia and Cameroon, sandwiched around a scoreless draw with Mexico. Chile placed second in a loaded Group B, thanks to a surprising 2-0 win over defending champion Spain. La Roja also defeated Australia and lost to the Netherlands in group-stage play.
Brazil has made it to at least the quarterfinals of every World Cup since 1994, while Chile has only won once in the knockout round – at home in 1962.
WEIGHT OF A NATION: OK, now it’s getting serious for Brazil. After a couple of hiccups in group play that included opening the tournament with an own goal against Croatia and failing to score on Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, Brazil cannot afford any slip-ups as the tournament switches to its single-elimination format. Brazil know anything less than a World Cup championship on their home soil would be a huge disappointment, and that quest begins in full now.
2010 REMATCH: It might be unfair to call this a rivalry, considering how much Brazil has dominated Chile. Since losing to Chile in a World Cup qualifier in 2000, Brazil are 10-0-2 against their South American brethren, and they have beaten them three times in the World Cup – most recently a 3-0 rout in the same round of the 2010 tournament.
SAME PLACE, DIFFERENT STAKES: One of the rare times Brazil failed to beat Chile came last year in a friendly at Estádio Mineirão – the same place where Saturday’s game will be held. In an uninspired performance, Brazil settled for a 2-2 draw and were booed by their own fans. Could more booing be in store from the home crowd Saturday?
SPYGATE SOUTH AMERICA: Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli ended Thursday’s training session early when he caught a Brazilian television helicopter possibly spying on the team’s practice outside Belo Horizonte. But it didn’t seem to faze the players much, with midfielder Mauricio Isla joking that they tried to hit the helicopter “with the balls but weren’t able to.”
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Neymar, forward, Brazil – You've heard of him, right? The Brazilian superstar is tied for the World Cup Golden Boot lead with four goals (along with Argentina’s Lionel Messi) and has carried the team while teammates like Fred and Hulk have mostly struggled. Against Chile, Neymar will look to get the better of Barcelona teammate Alexis Sanchez, with whom he has made a little wager.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Claudo Bravo, goalkeeper, Chile – It’s been a good month for Bravo, who will join Alexis and Neymar with Barcelona after they completed a transfer for him two days ago. Chile will need his veteran presence in net to have any chance of slowing down Brazil’s attack. Just don’t count on him scoring on a free kick, as he did for Real Sociedad in 2010.