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When and Where
12 PM ET, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
How They Got Here
Brazil looked semi-shaky in their group games, but won the group fairly easily. That's not saying too much, since the next best teams were Mexico, who barely even qualified for the World Cup, and Croatia, who is far from a powerhouse. But winning a group in the World Cup all while knowing your best is yet to come makes Brazil a dangerous team moving forward. They opened the tournament against Croatia and were helped by a bad penalty call that led to a Neymar penalty kick and a 2-1 lead. They went on to win 3-1. Their next match was against Mexico, or should I say Guillermo Ochoa. The Mexican goalkeeper turned himself into a brick wall and denied the Brazilians time and again in what was the best goalkeeping performance of the World Cup thus far. Brazil finished the group by dispatching easily of Cameroon, who got outscored in the World Cup 9-1. Not good.
But Brazil got no favors from the draw, as they were bound to play a tough team in their first knockout game, with Spain, Holland, and Chile all in the same group opposite of Brazil's. They drew Chile, another team that hails from South America, so the crowd should be electric. Hopefully the security for this match is better than when Chile played Spain, as some Chileans fans stormed the stadium.
For Chile, they began their World Cup against Australia and dispatched of them 3-1. The Aussies played hard, but Chile simply had more talent. The big match for Chile was their second one against Spain. They took it too the reigning champions and won 2-0. That win saw them through to the knockout round and their final match against the Netherlands was for who won the group. They dropped that match, hence drew Brazil. The last two World Cups the Chileans have been in, they have made it to the round of sixteen. Both times they were matched up against Brazil. Both times they lost. For Chile, maybe the third time's a charm.
Neymar is the team's most extravagant talent and he has really shined for Brazil, but he can't do it all alone. Fred is a pivotal player for Brazil up front and if he became more of a consistent threat, Brazil's attack could hit another level. He finally scored a goal last match, so maybe that gets him going as the games become more and more of a grind.
P.S. Oftentimes when someone is referred to by a single name, it's a memorable/awesome name. Cher, Ronaldinho, "Fred." Fred has to be the least cool and most plain singular name ever. His full name is Frederico Chaves Guedes. That is 100% more interesting than "Fred." Come on man, you can do better.
Arturo Vidal, Chile
Questions about health heading into the World Cup have circled Vidal, but Chile was able to rest him last match against the Netherlands, so he should be healthier than he's been in the tournament up to this point. He is a dangerous player and means so much to the Chilean midfield. If they can get him in a groove, Chile becomes über difficult to defend. Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas have been extremely impressive for Chile. Vidal could be the last piece of the puzzle.
Brazil wins 3-2
Chile will be a tougher opponent for Brazil than any one of their group games, as their speed and attack style will cause a lot of problems for their back line and will test Thiago Silva and David Luiz. If Brazil wants to advance, they need to play their best game and I expect Chile to bring it out of them. I like Brazil to move on, ultimately, because I can't see them losing this early in the World Cup. And if they advance, they will see a slightly easier opponent in the quarterfinals in either Colombia or Uruguay. However, they will also see another South American team, which just makes everything more interesting.
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