Belo Horizonte, Brazil (4E Sports) – Host Brazil went through the proverbial eye of the needle before beating Chile, 3-2, via penalties in their round of 16 showdown Saturday at Estadio Miniero.
The Selecao will now face either Colombia or Uruguay in the quarterfinals on July 4.
The two teams played to a 1-1 tie after 120 minutes, sending the game into a penalty shootout.
David Luiz opened scoring for Brazil after Thiago Silva’s flick-on from a Neymar corner, although replays seemed to suggest the ball had come off Chile’s Gonzalo Jara.
However, the host nation were pegged back just after the half-hour mark when Alexis Sanchez capitalized on a sloppy Selecao defense in the 32nd minute
Brazil fans were up on their feet 10 minutes into the second half but Hulk’s strike was disallowed for a handball in the build-up.
After that, the two South American sides struggled to score as energy levels dropped and the game went into extra-time.
In extra time, Chile had a best chance to win but Mauricio Pinilla’s 20-yard strike hit the crossbar in the 120th minute, sending the match into penalties.
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved Chile’s first two attempts from Pinilla and Sanchez, but the hosts failed to take advantage as Willian missed the target and Hulk had his shot saved by the legs of Claudio Bravo.
The shootout was tied 2-2 entering the final round, and Neymar came up big on his attempt by sending Bravo the wrong way, while Jara’s effort struck the inside of the right post and caromed out, allowing Brazil to advance to the next round.