Though history was resolutely on the side of Brazil, which had won 46 of 65 encounters between these nations before Monday's encounter, there was hope among the neutrals that today's match with Chile would be at least peppy and close. Chile's group performances had been exciting and shown no small amount of swagger; Brazil had produced moments of inspiration against North Korea and Ivory Coast but relied more heavily on its pragmatic side to come through its meeting with Portugal.
In the opening few minutes Chile delivered the we're-not-scared-of-you attacking soccer expected, forward
The prediction had been that Chile's willingness to throw itself into attack would leave it wide open at the back, but Brazil was forced to weave patterns around the Chilean defense for much of the first half hour. It was a set-piece that eventually provided the breakthrough. Not only was
It was only at that point that the spaces appeared in Chile's lines -- it seemed even more determined to stick to its fearless gameplan having gone behind, and Brazil exploited that within minutes.
That second goal -- which, 37 minutes into the match, effectively killed Chile's chances -- was as characteristically Brazilian as they come. And it was bettered with the third, after an hour, when Robinho curled the ball beyond Bravo having received the ball from
By contrast, Chile's forwards rarely made their way beyond the Brazilian defense, and failed to make goalkeeper
The credit for that, however, should go to Brazil's defense, which, in another un-Brazilian twist, is arguably one of the best at the tournament. Winger
If Brazil's unusual staunchness at the back is the worst