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Brazil: Their 2014 World Cup story so far

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Brazil narrowly escaped an early exit in their round of 16 game against Chile, saved by the woodwork in the final few moments of extra time and then by the dreaded penalty shoot-out. 

If Brazil go on to lift the World Cup come the end of the 2014 tournament, you have to assume that their performances will improve.

Disappointing displays

In their first game, Brazil beat Croatia 3-1. However, the match was not nearly as convincing as the scoreline suggests, Brazil went 1-0 down early to an own goal from Marcelo and looked shaky for the better part of the first half.

Then a little bit of Oscar resilience and Neymar brilliance saw them equalise. Oscar also scored a brilliant toe-punt for the final goal of the game. 

The big talking point came when Fred went down rather easily after a nudge from Croatian centre-half Dejan Lovren inside the box, resulting in a Brazil penalty which Neymar just about got past the 'keeper. 

The second game against Mexico - which finished 0-0 - was arguably the better of these two performances for Brazil. They could have easily walked away 4-0 winners on another day but for the brilliance of Mexico 'keeper Guillermo Ochoa. 

Improvement

Brazil's final group game saw them come up against a poor Cameroon side, who had Samuel Eto'o out through injury, Alex Song suspended due to his red card against Croatia and players fighting among themselves. 

That being said, Brazil took full advantage with Neymar opening the scoring. Things got shaky at the back again when poor marking from David Luiz left Joel Matip in space to equalis butn normal service was resumed in the 35th minute with Neymar bagging his second of the game. This was how the scores stayed until half time.

The second half was a much more dominant performance from Brazil, much to the fans delight, with Fred and Fernandinho finishing off the scoring.

Round of 16

In the last 16, Brazil came up against a well-drilled Chile side who were full of stamina and chased down every ball, making it difficult. This was the same tactic which saw them beat Spain 2-0 in an impressive display of football.

Despite this, Brazil matched their work-rate in the first half, making for an impressive spectacle. David Luiz gave Brazil the lead in the 18th minute, only for his goal to be cancelled out by some poor defending on the other side of the pitch that allowed Alexis Sanchez to score his second of the tournament.

The game could have of gone either way in the latter stages of the 90 minutes, however neither team could score and they entered extra time.

The 90 minutes of hard work-rate and closing down had clearly effected both sets of players and extra-time failed to really come to life until Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla struck the woodwork late on. That was a chance that could have seen Chile progress.

Full-time was called and the combined agility of goalkeeper Julio Cesar and the composure of Neymar saw them win the shootout 3-2.

Can they beat Colombia?

Colombia have become something of a dark horse at this World Cup with a string of truly brilliant performances, spearheaded by their talisman James Rodriguez.

Colombia came into this tournament knowing they would be without the ruthless Radamel Falcao, however it has not stopped them netting 11 goals in only four games so far.

Just as impressive as their goal tally is their defensive record, with Colombia only conceding twice in those four games.

Colombia appear to have mastered a blistering counter attack, one which the likes of the Ivory Coast and Uruguay have failed to cope with.

With Colombia being so impressive on the pitch and Brazil being less than convincing at the back, it should make for a great spectacle.

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Topics:
Brazil Football
World Cup
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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