There are no more second chances, it is win or be knocked out, and the fear of being knocked out will be something that drives Brazil to bigger and better things when they take on the irrepressible Chile in the first of the eight round of 16 clashes of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.
Where to Watch Live
Get the report HERE
The game is set for live telecast on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India with the first pre-quarterfinal match beginning at 1 pm local time (9.30 pm IST, 5 pm BST, 12 pm ET). The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. Catch the action in Brazil by live streaming HERE, while Chile and rest of South America viewers can do the same HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN and ABC, with the option to live stream the game HERE or HERE. UK viewers can catch the action in BBC and ITV while the matches can also be live streamed HERE or HERE. Catch the game in Australia HERE, while South Africa viewers can do so HERE. Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can live stream the match HERE.
Brazil haven't been convincing – even in that 4-1 win over Cameroon, quite a few chinks were evident, while Chile have been awesome at this World Cup. Their win over Australia wasn't the greatest, even of the goals were, while they showed against Spain exactly why Luiz Felipe Scolari said late last year Chile were the team he wanted to avoid in the round of 16.
"I'd prefer any other side," Brazil coach Scolari told TV Globo at the time of the Draw in December. "They're an awkward team to play. They're organised and their system doesn't fit in with ours. They're intelligent and a good side."
Intelligence is something that stands out in this Chile side, especially when they go forward. There is so much precision and pace about their attacks that sometimes, before even realising it, the ball is in the back of the net, with Alexis Sanchez their most potent force.
"Alexis is a star," Sanchez's Barcelona teammate and Brazil's talisman Neymar said. "I admire him a lot. He's a great player and we need to be careful with him. We can't leave him any space."
Brazil were not entirely convincing in defence against Cameroon, with the African side, who scored just one goal in the entire tournament, looking like they could find the back of the net with pretty much every attack. If Brazil don't tighten up their defence, this Chile side will hurt them, without a doubt.
The hosts have been past masters of the "You can score, but we'll just score more" tactics, but this Brazil side were supposed to be a much tighter defensive unit, as flair going forward is limited. Apart from Neymar, no player has really stepped up on the attacking front. Oscar, after a brilliant first game against Croatia, has disappeared into the periphery, while Hulk's stops-start tournament hasn't helped matters either. Fred did get a goal, a much-needed one, against Cameroon, but there is little doubt that if Neymar doesn't fire, then Brazil will struggle.
The way Chile are playing at the moment, you have to expect goals from them; hence, Brazil will also have to find their attacking mojo, and hope their overreliance on Neymar doesn't come back to haunt them. However, there have been absolutely no signs of Neymar being overawed by the attention and expectations; on the contrary, he seems to thrive on it – always the sign of a great player.
Apart from an in-form Neymar, Brazil also have history in their favour – the last two times the sides met in the last 16, Brazil romped into the quarterfinals on both occasions in the 1998 World Cup in France and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Brazil also inflicted a painful defeat on Chile in the 1962 semifinals, a World Cup which was hosted by the latter.
"We have a chance to change history," Chile's much revered Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli said. "We will play with courage as we did in the qualifiers and the group. If we don't fight against a team that has the whole stadium, the whole nation behind them, then the result will be quite clear.
"Chile have improved a lot, we have developed a lot, nowadays we can play without fear. Chile will play to win. We don't want to be forgotten. Brazil already have a beautiful history, we want to make a history of our own."
The La Rojas, as Chile are known, did try a bit of mind games ahead of this crunch match, alluding to the fact that the referee, Howard Webb, from England could play a role in helping the hosts through to the next round. Quite a bit of furore was created when Brazil were handed a soft penalty in their opener against Croatia, and Webb, the referee of the 2010 World Cup final, will need to be pretty careful before making any game-changing decisions.
"The best defence at this moment is Brazil's. I am really happy to play against Brazil but I am worried about the referee," Sanchez said. "But we will see."
Team news: Brazil: Scolari does not have too many concerns on the injury front with only David Luiz struggling with a slight back problem, an issue he is expected to overcome for the Chile game. Fernandinho, who was quite impressive after coming on as a substitute against Cameroon, scoring a goal, could be included at the expense of Paulinho, even if Scolari repeatedly said he has full faith in the Tottenham midfielder.
Chile: Gary Medel is struggling to be fit after picking up a muscle strain. Sampaoli said he is hopeful his key defender can make it in time, but the coach is boosted by the return of Arturo Vidal, who will make a return to the starting lineup after being rested in the final group game against the Netherlands.
"Today he [Medel] wouldn't play, tomorrow maybe," Sampaoli said on Friday. "Let's see if the next 24 hours allow him to play. Like Arturo, he's not 100 percent."
Key men: Brazil: Neymar, obviously, but Oscar and Hulk also need to step up and be counted, while skipper Thiago Silva will be required to marshal his defence to perfection to stop the Chile attacking juggernaut.
Chile: Alexis Sanchez will be the biggest attacking threat. But much will also depend on Vidal – if he can control midfield and dictate the play, then Brazil will face problems.
Expected lineups: Brazil: Cesar; Alves, Silva, Luiz, Marcelo; Gustavo, Fernandinho; Hulk, Neymar, Oscar; Fred.
Chile: Bravo; Silva, Medel, Jara; Isla, Aranguiz, Vidal, Diaz, Mena; Sanchez, Vargas.
Prediction: 3-2 to Brazil