As far as this fixture is concerned, history is against Chile. They have played Brazil 3 times in the knock out stages of the World Cups and have lost all the 3 times. The last 2 times when Chile managed to progress from the group stage (in 1998 and 2010), they ended up playing (and losing to) Brazil both the times, conceding a total of 7 goals and scoring just once. So history is definitely not on Chile’s side.
A bit of certainty: Whatever the result of this match is, one thing is for sure – there will be at least one South American team in the semi-finals as the winners of this match will play against the winners of Uruguay vs Colombia.
Brazil and Chile in group stages so far
Barring the 2nd half performance against Cameroon, Brazil has not exactly set the World Cup on fire yet. But admittedly they had done, what was expected of them, to finish their group at the top without much fuss. Expectedly, Neymar has been their brightest spot so far and Brazil will again be depending on him to see them through.
Chile on the other hand has had a great campaign so far considering they ousted the reigning world champions. And their all action, high intensity pressing game has won them many a hearts. When the World Cup draw was made, not many had given Chile a chance to go to the next round at the expense of either Spain or Holland (finalist of 2010 World Cup).
How are they expected to line up?
Brazil is expected to line up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Fred leading the line and supported by Neymar, Oscar and Hulk behind him. Or maybe Scolari may draw a leaf out of Luis Van Gaal’s book and instead opt for the pace and industry of Willian over Hulk to nullify Sanchez’s threat. Chelsea playmaker Oscar is expected to be the creative lynchpin of this side. After an average showing in the group stages Paulinho may make way for Fernandino who has had a fantastic season with Premier League champions Manchester City.
Chile on the other hand is expected to stick to their 3-5-2 formation with front 2 of Sanchez and Vargas. Arturo Vidal, the all action Juventus midfielder, is expected to start in the midfield after missing the game against Holland.
Two of the Barcelona players are key for their respective teams – Neymar for Brazil and Alexis Sanchez for Chile.
I expect a close contest, may be a bit tense and jittery affair as Brazil will not want to fail so early in the tournament in front of their fans and Chile on the other hand may be feeling the weight of history. Eventually, Brazil will beat Chile again. Brazil 2 – Chile 1