World Cup contenders Brazil know that their outstanding past record against Chile will count for nothing when the sides meet in an all-South American World Cup derby on Saturday.
World Cup contenders Brazil know that their outstanding past record against Chile will count for nothing when the sides meet in an all-South American World Cup derby on Saturday afternoon.
The tournament hosts have lost just eight of 68 previous meetings with Chile and have emerged victorious in all three past encounters in the World Cup, scoring 11 goals in the process. That run includes a comfortable 3-0 win against Marcelo Bielsa’s Chile side at the same stage of the 2010 finals in South Africa but the hosts must be wary of the Chilean attack.
Chile have already dished out a 2-0 thrashing for 2010 champions Spain and might do a similar on Brazil as well.
Brazil have yet to live up to the high expectations surrounding them at these finals despite collecting seven points from a possible nine in the group stage. But stark contrast, Chile have impressed especially defeating Spain and also with the style of play. Despite a 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands in their final Group B match, Chile is still a force to reckon with.
With that in mind, even Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted that he would have chosen different opponents for his side than Chile, who drew 2-2 at the Mineirao in a friendly in 2013 and narrowly lost 2-1 when the teams clashed in Canada last year.
On the other hand, Chile have yet to reach the quarter-finals since they hosted the tournament in 1962, when they were eventually eliminated in the last four by Brazil. However, the current side, coached by Argentine Jorge Sampaoli, are confident than ever before to capitalise on the enormous weight of pressure on Brazil and upset the odds.
Chilean team news is not good with midfielder Gary Medel picking up an ankle knock in training, but if he recovers, Chile should be at full strength. Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal is all set to feature after being rested for the Netherlands defeat.
Brazil are monitoring a slight back injury suffered by centre-back David Luiz in training, while Fernandinho could come into the midfield at the expense of Paulinho after impressing as a substitute against Cameroon. The winners will go through to another all-South American tie in the quarter-finals, against either Colombia or Uruguay in Fortaleza.
With the fans on their side, Brazil has slightly edged ahead of Chile in this crucial Round of 16 tie. Also not to forget the blistering form of Barcelona forward Neymar who could prove a thorn in the Chilean defence.