Monday, June 28th, 19:30 GMT, Ellis Park
On paper this may look like a gross mismatch, but that’s why football is played on grass instead. The talent level on Brazil is absolutely extraordinary. On the other hand, many football fans would be hard-pressed to name even a few of Chile’s starters. Looking at their group stage play, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that they looked equally good. So now they will meet on the same pitch to determine who moves on – the upstart Chileans or the flashy Brasileiros.
The players have been catching a lot of flack from their fans recently because the team doesn’t always win while playing beautiful football. They need to understand that their job is to win the World Cup, whatever it takes. If they win beautifully in the process then great, but at the end of the day, their fans will only be judging them by their final result. If it is anything but a win, then they will hear it a lot worse back home from the media and their fellow countrymen.
Given what Chile brings to the table, this should be a hard fought match with less room for beautiful football than usual. Nobody will remember if they made it to the Round of 16 and lost even though they were playing beautiful football, but if on July 11th they are hoisting the World Cup, that will be more beautiful for the fans than how they won it.
Chile understand that they can’t “out-Brazil” Brazil. They need to stick with what has been working well for them: defense and an effective offense. They don’t have the goals to show for how well their offense has played, but they have shown that they can create many scoring opportunities. Had it not been for a 40-yard empty net goal by David Villa against Spain, Chile would have only allowed one goal in the group stage. Their defense has been great, and it’s going to have to continue to be if they have any chance against Brazil. They need to play the game that they are used to and not try to overdo it. If all goes to plan, then Chile will be right there in it at the end.
I’m pretty sure that Chile’s luck has run out. They showed in their last match that they can stick with the big teams, but they were lucky that Spain didn’t score at least another goal or two. Brazil have been playing even better than Spain, so this match will take a little extra something from the Chileans. I can’t see it happening though. Anything less than making it to the World Cup final will be a disappointment for Brazil, so they aren’t going to let Chile stand in their way. Brazil wins 3-0.