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2014 World Cup Roundup: Brazil edge past Chile, Colombia progress
Brazil 1-1 Chile (3-2 on penalties)
Brazil scraped past a spirited Chile side that will be gutted to have lost on penalties after coming so close to winning the game.
David Luiz’ flick into an empty net in the 18th minute looked like it was sending Brazil on their way to a comfortable victory, but Chile had other ideas. After surviving a couple of dangerous Brazil opportunities, La Roja hit back in the 34th minute; Eduardo Vargas pounced on a loose ball from Hulk and squared the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who had no trouble finishing past Julio Cesar from 15 yards.
The remainder of the first half saw Brazil piling the pressure on Chile’s defence, and Fred somehow managed to fire over after good work by Neymar when it would have been easier to score. Just before the halftime break, Chile almost scored a second goal but a last ditch tackle from Luiz ensured his side reached the break on level terms.
Chile were the better team in the second half, although hosts Brazil had a goal ruled out for a Hulk handball in the 55th minute. As the minutes went by, it was apparent Chile were trying to reach extra time, and Bravo had to save more than once in the final minutes of regulation time.
Extra time started as the second half had ended; Brazil tried over and over again to breach the Chilean defence featuring Cardiff City’s Gary Medel, but a combination of late blocks and excellent saves from Bravo kept Neymar, Jo, and Hulk at bay. Chile will have been especially aggrieved by the fact that substitute striker Mauricio Pinilla unleashed a vicious shot from the edge of the area in the 120th minute only to see it crash off the crossbar with Cesar beaten.
The frame of the goal would eventually come to the Brazilians’ aid once more in the ensuing penalty shootout, as Gonzalo Jara hit the post with Chile’s fifth penalty. Neymar then stepped up to score his spot kick and send his side through into the quarter-finals, but this was far from a convincing performance from the hosts.
In the second round of sixteen matchup of the evening, a James Rodriguez-inspired Colombia saw off Uruguay to set up a quarter-final clash with Brazil.
Uruguay looked like they sorely missed the banned Luis Suarez, and Edinson Cavani was left to labor alone up front against a steely Colombian defence.
James Rodriguez opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a stunning goal; the Monaco midfielder controlled a lobbed pass and then volleyed a shot into the top corner, giving goalkeeper Fernando Muslera no chance.
The talented 22-year-old then doubled his side’s lead 5 minutes into the second half, when he tapped in teammate Cuadrado’s clever headed lay-off. Rodriguez now has 5 goals and 4 assists in Brazil 2014, and his stock will no doubt have soared by the end of the tournament.
After the second goal, Uruguay’s frustration began to show, as Oscar Tabarez’ men launched themselves into rough tackles. The Copa America 2011 winners and South Africa 2010 semi-finalists finished the game on top with Colombian stopper David Ospina forced into a number of saves, but Uruguay failed to get on the scoresheet and Colombia will now be looking forward to their first-ever quarter-final berth at a World Cup.