The World Cup knockout stages begin today with hosts Brazil taking on Chile.
How they got here
Brazil, not to the surprise of many, finished as Group A winners. After a less than convincing performance in a 3-1 win over Croatia in the opener, and a scoreless draw against Mexico, the Selecao finally turned on the style in a 4-1 rout of Cameroon; a performance that seems to have finally silenced their critics.
Chile found themselves drawn in the same group with Holland, the 2010 runner-up, and Spain, the defending champions. The odds of making it out of the group seemed like a long shot, until Chile beat Spain 2-0 in their second match, a result that eliminated the defending champions. They lost their final group game to the Netherlands, settling for the runner-up spot.
This marks the third consecutive time that Chile are facing Brazil in the second round of the World Cup. Their first meeting in 1998, ended in a 4-1 rout in favor of Brazil, who were the then-defending champions. Chile didn't qualify for the tournament again until 2010, and once again, they met their a fate at the hands of their South American rival, with final score of 3-0.
Third time's the charm?
This is certainly what Chile will be hoping for, as they come up against a team that has consistently dominated them over the years. It doesn't really help matters than Brazil is finally playing like the team many have become accustomed to, and they have the added ammunition of being the host nation.
Chile has the grand opportunity to deliver what could possibly be the biggest upset of the tournament by beating Brazil. Spain, and Italy, the last two tournament winners, are watching from home after failing to make it out of their groups, and they've already been joined by England, another big name.
What it will come down to
Led by Neymar, Brazil are heading into this game with too much firepower, and enough confidence to see them through to the next stage. For Chile to pull off this upset, they will need to find a way to dominate possession, observe defensive discipline, as well as being more clinical up front. What we know is that Brazil will be sure to create enough scoring chances, and they don't usually miss many of them.