Medel provides resistance, but Neymar and Brazil edge through: how Stats Zone saw Brazil 1-1 Chile (3-2 pens)

FFT's James Maw takes a deep breath and analyses Brazil's thrilling victory over neighbours Chile using Stats Zone...

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This match was a fitting beginning to this World Cup's knockout stages: a meeting between the hosts and one of the most exciting teams in the group stage.

As expected, the game started brightly, with both teams looking to commit men forward and attack at speed. However, in the first 15 minutes there were few goal-scoring chances to speak of, with the best falling to Brazilian full-back Marcelo, who shot wide of the near post.

Ironically, given the open nature of the early stages of the match, the first goal came from a set-piece. Neymar's in-swinging corner was flicked on by centre-back Thiago Silva, with his defensive partner David Luiz bundling in at the far post. It may have looked scrappy, but it will have been a pre-planned routine.

Brazil were ahead, but if anything that appeared to make them more nervous. Sloppy mistakes started to creep into their play, and it was always likely they'd be made to pay.

They did when Hulk miscontrolled Marcelo's quickly taken throw-in. The Zenit striker was promptly dispossessed by Eduardo Vargas, who pulled the ball back to Alexis Sanchez. The Barcelona forward was immediately under pressure from Brazil keeper Julio Cesar, but did brilliantly to calmly tuck the ball into the bottom corner.

The equaliser seemed to draw Brazil out of their shell a bit more, but they still weren't having things all their own way. With Chile particularly strong in central areas (more on that later), Brazil were forced to go wide.

Over the course of the match, it was full-backs Marcelo and Dani Alves who attempted the most passes in the attacking third - although they were only able to create 1 opening each.

One major obstacle for Brazil was Chile midfielder-come-defender Gary Medel.

The Cardiff City man has been superb all tournament, and his showing against Brazil was no different. Not only did he make 12 clearances, 3 interceptions and 2 blocks - he was also the game's top passer. And all this while carrying a muscle injury. It seems unlikely he'll be turning out in the Championship with the Bluebirds next season.

It wasn't quite such a productive afternoon for another Premier League midfielder - Manchester City's Fernandinho. The 29-year-old replaced the out-of-sorts Paulinho at half-time in Brazil's previous match against Cameroon and made a huge difference, but he couldn't match it against Chile.

He completed just 10 passes in 72 minutes - in fact, he made nearly as many fouls, somehow avoiding a booking.

The second half was far cagier than the first. Hulk had the best 2 chances. The first saw him denied by referee Howard Webb, who ruled out what initially looked a perfectly good goal for handball. The second saw the burly forward drop a shoulder to beat two men, then hammer in a shot that was saved by Claudio Bravo in the Chile goal.

Chile's best chance came in extra-time, when substitute Mauricio Pinilla rattled the crossbar from the edge of the box with just seconds left on the clock.

Pinilla may still have been thinking of that chance when he stepped up to take Chile's first penalty of the shootout. His relatively tame and central penalty was comfortably saved by Cesar.

If that one was routine, Cesar's second save certainly wasn't. He did superbly to get down to Sanchez's placed shot.

Misses from Willian and Hulk meant the pressure was on posterboy Neymar to bury Brazil's fifth penalty - and he did just that to give the hosts a 3-2 lead.

Former West Brom, Brighton and Nottingham Forest man Gonzalo Jara then struck the post, and Brazil scraped through.

Facts and figures

  • Brazil’s last 4 World Cup extra-time appearances have all gone to penalties: Last 16 vs Chile 2014 (Won), semi final vs Netherlands 1998 (Won), Final vs Italy 1994 (Won), quarter-final vs France 1986 (Lost).
  • Brazil have failed to score a single goal in any of their last 6 appearances in World Cup extra-time.
  • Brazil have lost just 1 of their last 16 World Cup games when they had scored first (W13 D2).
  • Alexis Sanchez has scored 5 goals in his last 6 competitive games for Chile.
  • Chile have never kept a clean sheet against South American opposition at the World Cup (5 games).
  • Chile have conceded 12 goals in their 4 meetings with Brazil at the World Cup finals, an average of 3 per game.
  • Chile have never beaten the Seleção on Brazilian soil, losing 20 and drawing 7.
  • Brazil are unbeaten in 41 successive matches in Brazil, with their last defeat coming against Paraguay (0-1 in a friendly) in August 2002.
  • The last 8 World Cup shootouts have been won by the team going first.
  • Brazil have progressed in each of their last 6 second round matches at the World Cup.
  • Brazil’s passing accuracy of 72.9% was their second lowest in a World Cup match from 1966 onwards (lowest 72.4% in 2002 final, against Germany).

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