Julio Cesar was the man of the moment as Brazil edged past a resilient and resolute Chile side on penalties last weekend, in perhaps the best match of a wildly-entertaining World Cup to date.
Chile had been fancied to cause a surprise upset and you could see why as they forced Brazil into numerous mistakes, and on the whole dealt with the threat of Brazil's attack incredibly well.
Brazil took the led though when a corner flicked on by Thiago Silva reached David Luiz at the far post, although it appeared as if Gonzalo Jara got the telling touch which put Brazil 1-0 up.
Luiz was credited with the goal, his first for his country. Brazil looked to press on and gain further control in the game and add to their tally. Chile were not deterred and pushed for an equaliser.
Chile levelled on 32 minutes, a loose pass by Hulk fell to Alexis Sanchez, who calmly slotted the ball into the far corner past a scrambling Julio Cesar. Sanchez was outstanding throughout, offering an outlet to his team and posing an attacking threat. There was English representation in this game, in the form of the officials, who came into the limelight into the second half.
A long diagonal pass was controlled and rather fortunately converted by Hulk, the entire Mineirao Stadium erupted in jubilation. However, that jubilation was short lived as Hulk was deemed to have controlled the pass with his arm.
The decision appeared to knock Brazil back as Chile began to gain more of a foothold in the game and search for the winner. Brazil had many chances to win the game, including a great chance for Jo, who failed to convert from 6 yards after some sublime Chilean defending to put him off. Claudio Bravo, who Barcelona have just signed denied Neymar twice with smart saves.
Cesar also had to be alert to deny Chile on a couple of occasions. However neither team could find a breakthrough, and the teams headed to extra time.
Brazil upped the tempo in extra time as Chile appeared to be holding out for a shootout, as they covered an extortionate amount of ground. This was epitomised by Gary Medel.
The bullish defender was practically held together by strapping, yet put in a stellar performance covering a significant amount of ground for his team. Medel worked so hard that he subsequently went off injured in extra time, rendering him distraught.
Despite Brazil's extra time dominance, Chile almost sent Brazil packing through Mauricio Pinallla, whose shot from distance rocketed against the crossbar with just one minute of extra time remaining, had that gone in, Brazil would of crashed out of the World Cup and fallen miserably short of expectations, however it wasn't to be, and penalties soon followed the miss.
The tension within the stadium was immense, the Brazilians had the pressure of an entire nation on their shoulders, further increased by them being the home nation, meaning they had significantly more to lose.
An emphatic penalty from Luiz set the tone for Brazil, which Julio Cesar followed up with authority. Saves from Pinilla and Sanchez put Brazil in the ascendency and when the final penalty from Jara hit the post an entire nation celebrated, while also breathing a huge sigh of relief as Brazil's World Cup dream remained well and truly alive.
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