New England Soccer Today

#WorldCup: Brazil Advances on Penalties

Toronto FC goalkeeper Julio Cesar proved the hero saving two penalty kicks for Brazil as the 2014 FIFA World Cup hosts advanced over Chile, 3-2, in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw through extra time. Brazil gave the home fans in Belo Horizonte something to cheer about after a tense 120 minutes of soccer, advancing out of the Round of 16 to face the winner of this evening’s match between Uruguay and Colombia in the Quarterfinals on July 4th.

Group A winners Brazil struck first in the 18th minute off a Neymar corner kick. Neymar’s service was flicked on to the far post by Thiago Silva where Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara redirected it towards his own net. David Luiz may have had a touch after Jara’s deflection and celebrated the goal for Brazil.

But the lead was short lived as Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez tied the match for Group B runner-up Chile in the 32nd minute. Eduardo Vargas picked the ball off Hulk after he received a throw-in from Marcelo in Brazil’s defensive third and then sent a pass to Sanchez, who hit a low shot that beat Toronto FC goalkeeper Julio Cesar inside the far post to make it 1-1.

Hulk thought he had won it for Brazil with a goal in the 55th minute, but his effort was called off after English referee Howard Webb ruled he brought the ball down with his arm. Neither side could score from there as the match went to extra time.

Chile almost struck the winner in the 120th minute through substitute Mauricio Pinilla. Pinilla combined with Sanchez off a long ball from the keeper and then blasted a shot towards goal from the top of the box that was denied only by the crossbar.

But Pinilla’s chance at being the hero quickly evaporated as the game went to a shootout and his effort was right down the middle and saved by Cesar after Luiz converted Brazil’s first penalty.  Willian missed his shot for Brazil, but Cesar came up huge again with a save on Sanchez, to give Brazil a 1-0 lead after two rounds. Marcelo converted the next shot for Brazil, and a brilliant penalty by Charles Aránguiz got Chile on the board, making it 2-1 Brazil.

A rough day for Hulk continued when his penalty was saved by Claudio Bravo and Marcelo Díaz converted for Chile to knot it at 2-2 after four rounds. Neymar then converted for Brazil to open the fifth round and Jara, with a chance to make amends for his own goal, was denied by the post, sending Brazil through to the next round with a 3-2 shootout victory.

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