BELO HORIZONTE – 2nd rd: Brazil v Chile
—- Luiz Felipe Scolari features in television advert for Wallmart, a comparative newcomer to the Brazilian supermarket sector. His promotional power can go one of two ways today,
World Cup hosts Brazil played erratically in Group A even though they topped the table and finished with a decisive-sounding 4-1 win over Cameroon.
However they have carried through this far by the brilliance of superstar forward Neymar, who scored four goals in the three games, and Scolari has conceded that nerves are having an effect on his players and their form.
Scolari said: “It is normal that we should be anxious, especially now in the knockout stage where we cannot lose. We become more afraid, more nervous. Not because it is in Brazil but because it is a World Cup and you only have the chance to reach the final if you win.”
Scolari, who led Brazil to World Cup success in 2002, said shortly after the finals draw last December that one of the opponents he would least like to face would be Chile because “they are such a pain to play against.”
Brazil defender David Luiz is nursing a slight back problem suffered in training but is expected to be fit. Fernandinho could take up a starting role in midfield despite Scolari’s faith in the past in Paulinho.
Chile were also probably more impressive than Brazil in Group B, in partcular in the manner of their wins over Australia and Spain.
Chile defender Gary Medel is a doubt with a muscle strain but, if fit, will keep his place in a full-strength side. Key midfielder Arturo Vidal will return after being rested for the group stage defeat against the Dutch.
Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Francisco Silva and Eugenio Mena are all one booking from a ban, along with Brazil quartet Thiago Silva, Ramires, Neymar and Luiz Gustavo.
Brazil have never lost at home to Chile in 26 meetings spanning 95 years and beat Chile 3-0 at the same stage four years ago to the day of this game.
Chile have not reached the quarter-finals since they hosted the tournament in 1962. However Alexis Sanchez said: “We have respect for Brazil but I think we are going to beat them. We came to this World Cup to make history. We beat the world champions, and although we had a slip-up against Holland, we are going out to try and win the Cup.”
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