FIFA World Cup 2014: Neymar the Key, But Chile Poses Real Threat

It’s an irony of scheduling that 4 of the Latin American teams need to contest for one slot of semifinal. Brazil is expected to conquer others in their way. Yet, so what if Brazil has the edge, it’s so far a one man army, unlike the old time Brazil. So what if Brazil holds the home advantage, Chile is no more a pushover. Chile fears about umpire. But then umpiring has been the worst for all so far in the 48 matches of Group Stage. Overall, with Marcelo’s return Brazil looks set to defend well, and its forward can repeat another win of 2 or more goals and remain undefeated against Chile at World Cup even in their fourth meeting.

Group A of Brazil, Group B of Chile
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Brazil has stopped Chile’s progress four times in World Cup, thrice winning at second round including 2010 World Cup, and once winning the semifinal, in 1962 World Cup. Chile appears determined to avenge. Knocking out Brazil in the second round that too when they are hosting the World Cup will be the best revenge for Chile, who has been knocked out on four occasions by Brazil in the past World Cups.

Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G, Group H
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    Brazil’s yellow color jersey with green trim, blue shorts with white trim was first used in March 1954 against Chile. Since then Brazil has used the same dress. It was designed by Aldyr Garcia Schlee, 19-year old from Pelotas.
    Chile has lost all the three matches vs Brazil at World Cup. (Round of 16: 0-3 in 2010 & 1-4 in 1998. SF: 4-2 in 1962)
    Chile’s biggest overall defeat and even at World Cup has come against Brazil.
    Brazil has lost only once in 19 appearances so far at World Cup, in the second round.
    Chile has never defeated Brazil at home. They have lost 20 and drew 6.
    Eduardo Vargas has scored in his last two matches vs Brazil.

Marcelo vs Chilean attack, specially Alexis Sanchez and Neymar vs Chilean defence is the key to the match. Neymar is Brazil’s top five goal scorer overall.
Chile’s Claudio Bravo is their second most capped player with 82 matches. Starting in 2004 he is just 2 short of their most capped player Leonel Sanchez (1955-1967). Among current squad Alexis Sanchez (since 2006) with 70 matches is at joint fourth, while Gonzalo Jara has played 68 matches and Gary Medel has played 64 matches.
Sanchez with 23 goals is their joint 4th best goal scorer behind 37 goals in 70 matches by Marcelo Salas, 34 goals in 69 matches by Ivan Zamorano, 29 goals in just 49 matches by Carlos Caszely.

Journey So Far Till Group Stage
Brazil topped Group A with 2 wins and a draw, while Chile finished second with 2 wins and a loss. Brazil scored 7 goals and conceded 2 goals. But it’s concern would be the dependency on Neymar who scored 4 of their goals. Chile scored lesser goals, 5 goals and conceded more, 3 goals. But it has 5 players who proved they can score.

Yellow Cards and Restrictions
The teams will be cautious on fouls committed and only in late second half extra foul can come in place as most of the key players of both teams have already received a yellow card and another will knock them out of Quarterfinal. But if the team is about to lose the match, then that worry will not be worth. Brazil has the quartet of Thiago Silva, Ramires, Neymar and Luiz Gustavo on one yellow card each. Chile has Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Francisco Silva and Eugenio Mena on a yellow card each.

Overall Head-to-Head
Overall in 68 matches, Brazil has won 48, while Chile has won only 7. 13 ended in draw. In the last three meetings since Scolari took over as coach in 2013, they have played two matches. Chile drew the first one while Brazil won another friendly. Interestingly Chile played a draw at Brazil only.

Past Record
Ranked 3rd at present Brazil has 5 titles in 19 appearances. Ranked 14th Chile’s best finish is 3rd in 8 appearances.

Chile’s worst defeat of 7-0 came against Brazil. But that was in September, 1959. In 9 appearances, Chile has qualified beyond Group Stage only fifth time, and only once have they crossed beyond Round of 16 and even then in the semifinal they lost to Brazil. Their worst defeat at World Cup to Brazil has come up in 1962 when they lost the semifinal 4-2. That 3rd place is their best finish at World Cup.

Brazil on the other hand has lost in the Round of 16 only once. It was a shocking exit when despite winning all the three matches at group stage, Brazil lost the Round of 16. But then the opponents were one of their fiercest rivals, Argentina.

Even in 2010 World Cup, Chile came across Brazil in the Round of 16, and lost 3-0. Juan, Luís Fabiano and Robinho scored for Brazil.

If Brazil possess the maximum attack at goal, Chile’s defence has not been a pushover in FIFA World Cup 2014. They have conceded only 3 goals. Chile has a strong chance, if they have learnt from the defeat against Netherlands. The Dutch success is a result of its attack, and even Brazil depends a lot on Neymar and Co.

With Marcelo’s return Brazil can feel confident of preventing a goal. Neymar could be surrounded by Chilean defence, yet he is not the kind of player who would stop as long as he is on field. He will have his way and so will have Brazil. A win looks imminent for Brazil, margin could be of 2 or more goals.

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