Chile put up a brave fight but were outclassed by the Canarinha…
Two goals in the first half from Juan and Luis Fabiano gave Brazil a comfortable 2-0 lead over Chile in the last-16 clash, before Robinho sealed the win in style with a second half strike as the Selecao set up a tantalising quarter-final showdown with the Netherlands.
South American pride and bragging rights were at stake as both Chile and Brazil looked to avoid becoming the first nation from the continent to be knocked out of the 2010 World Cup.
Chile showed all the initiative in the opening exchanges as they pinned back Brazil, who were happy to absorb the pressure and pounce on the break.
Indeed, it was the Selecao who had the first real chance after four minutes when Robinho released Luis Fabiano through on goal in a counter-attack, but the Sevilla striker dragged his shot wide across goal.
Dunga’s men quickly wrestled control of the game after that and on eight minutes, Gilberto Silva unleashed a piledriver from 25 yards out which Claudio Bravo was forced to dive at full stretch to palm the ball away. Kaka then fired wired from the ensuing corner as Chile suddenly found themselves chasing shadows.
But La Roja finally carved out their first shot at goal on 12 minutes when Humberto Suazo fired his half-volley straight at Julio Cesar after he got in between two defenders to meet Alexis Sanchez’s through pass.
It didn’t take long for the frantic pace of the early minutes of the game to dissipate and chances started to dry up as both teams settled into a normal rhythm. In fact, the fans at Ellis Park had to wait until the 34th minute before they were up on their feet. And it was the Brazilian half of the crowd that were celebrating as the Canarinha took the lead when Juan thumped a bullet header into the top corner from Maicon’s corner.
Just three minutes later, it became 2-0. Robinho squared the ball to the middle to Kaka, who touched it on to Luis Fabiano and the striker coolly rounded the on-rushing Bravo before slotting the ball into the empty net.
Five minutes from the break, Michel Bastos galloped down the left channel and drilled in a low drive which flashed just wide, before Fabiano came close to a second but he hammered his header over from 12-yards out from a Maicon cross.
Brazil continued to look the more threatening side as Chile struggled to hang on for the half-time whistle.
A desperate Marcelo Bielsa made two changes at the break in a bid to haul his Chile side back into the contest. Rodrigo Tello came on for Pablo Contreras while Jorge Valdivia replaced Mark Gonzalez, but it was the Selecao who came out firing again when Dani Alves’ freekick all the way on the left channel just floated over the bar.
La Roja managed to string together a number of half-decent attacks, but it was their final ball into the opposition box that let them down. That only resulted in Brazil taking advantage of the gaps at the back to launch counter-attacks. And that was precisely how they five-time world champions made it 3-0.
Ramires made an interception in the halfway line, darted forward all the way to the edge of the area before teeing up Robinho to curl a wonderful side-footed shot past a hapless Bravo. Minutes later, Dani Alves let rip a 30-yard rocket which swerved agonisingly wide.
Chile, to their credit, didn’t let their heads drop as they fought valiantly for a consolation goal. Valdivia came closest on 65 minutes when he flicked up an Alexis Sanchez squared ball and pummelled in a volley which flew just over.
Another lightning break for Brazil almost resulted in a fourth goal when Robinho chased down a through ball and arrowed in a low drive across goal but Bravo got down well to swat it away.
Straight to the other end, Julio Cesar was forced to make his first save of the game when he dived full stretch to deny a superb shot from Humberto Suazo. Minutes later, Suazo’s volley right off the ground dipped over Julio Cesar but it could only clip the top of the bar.
Jean Beausejour and Valdivia had the last clear-cut chances of the game for Chile when they both pulled their shots wide but Brazil’s commanding lead never looked in danger as they went on to secure an impressive 3-0 win and a date with the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.