Gonzalo Jara missed the crucial penalty as Brazil beat Chile 3-2 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in normal time to make the quarter-finals.
Barcelona pair Alexis Sanchez and Neymar started up front for their respective nations, whilst Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Valencia loanee Eduardo Vargas were also named as the hosts took on Jorge Sampaoli’s men in Belo Horizonte.
The nerves were clearly showing for the home team as Fernandinho came flying into a challenge within the first five minutes that floored Eugenio Mena, whilst Gary Medel was in bullish mood – toppling Neymar in full-flight early on.
The midfield battle wasn’t in-keeping with the tournament so far, but the early chances were. A shot from Marcelo on the edge of the area just skimmed the post, whilst Marcelo Diaz hit one from long range for the visitors.
With 13 minutes gone though, the Estadio Minerale crowd were up in arms as Hulk baulked his way through on goal. Medel bustled the Zenit St Petersburg man over inside the area, but referee Howard Webb waved away the appeals.
Just five minutes later however, the Seleccao did open the scoring. A corner from Neymar was flicked on at the near post by Thiago Silva, with Luiz there at the back stick to tap in from close range.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men had the wind in their sails, and almost doubled their lead midway through the half. A Neymar breakaway saw the Barca man through on the left-hand side, but his effort from the edge of the area went wide of Claudio Bravo’s post.
That miss would come back to haunt the Blaugrana youngster as La Roja netted an equaliser on 33 minutes. Some terrible defending from Brazil was capitalised on by Eduardo Vargas, who laid in Alexis to finish neatly past Julio Cesar.
It was the five times’ winners who were on top, but poor finishing from Neymar and Fred ensured that they went into half-time level.
After the break, the fans were on their feet as Hulk plucked the ball out of the air and stroked a finish past the goalkeeper, but their excitement was soon extinguished as the linesman flagged for a handball.
The match was to and fro, with neither defence asserting any sort of authority. And that almost cost the hosts on 65 minutes. A pass from Vargas found Charles Aranguiz on the edge of the area, who forced Julio Cesar into a stunning save.
Chances were at a premium with the clock counting down, but neither team could get the winner so the game went to extra time.
The added 30 minutes really took its toll on the players as neither side could capitalise on the chances they were afforded. Both Chile and Brazil were kept to long range efforts, but Mauricio Pinilla went closest in the last minute – firing a shot against the bar from the edge of the area.
The game went to penalties. And after Neymar coolly netted the Seleccao’s fifth penalty, Gonzalo Jara stepped up and smashed his effort against the upright, to take Brazil into the quarter-finals.
Brazil 1-1 Chile (Brazil win 3-2 on penalties)
Scorers: David Luiz 18 (B); Alexis 32 (C)
Brazil: Júlio César; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Fernandinho (Ramires 73), Luiz Gustavo; Hulk, Oscar (Willian 105), Neymar; Fred (Jo 64)
Chile: Bravo (c), Mena, Isla, Silva, Sanchez, Vidal (Pinilla 87), Vargas (Gutierrez 57), Medel (Rojas 108), Jara, Aranguiz, Dias