Brazil beat Chile in penalty shootout to reach last eight
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Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved two spot-kicks in a shootout against Chile to send the hosts into the World Cup quarter-finals, winning 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.
Four years to the day since Brazil eliminated Chile at the same stage of the 2010 tournament, they did it again when Gonzalo Jara sent the last spot-kick against the post after Cesar had twice denied the battling Chileans.
David Luiz put Brazil ahead after 18 minutes but Alexis Sanchez equalised for Chile before halftime.
The Brazilians, who had eliminated their fellow South Americans in three previous World Cups, set a blistering pace from the start and Marcelo took a first crack at Chile with a volley that sailed wide.
Chile quickly lost the battle in midfield but their defence kept tournament joint top scorer Neymar constantly in check.
Chile were helpless, though, when Neymar whipped in a corner in the 18th minute, Thiago Silva headed it on and David Luiz, with what looked like some help from Chile's Jara, flicked it in for his first international goal in his 40th appearance.
With the small red patches of Chile fans in the Mineirao stadium engulfed in a vast sea of yellow shirts, five-times champions Brazil kept pouring forward and Neymar should have done better when he raced clear only to drive a low shot wide.
Instead, Chile levelled after 32 minutes when Alexis Sanchez made the most of a throw-in mix-up between Hulk and Marcelo, to drill the ball into the goal and stun the crowd into temporary silence.
Neymar went agonisingly close with a header that scraped past the post and controlled a superb deep cross-field ball to set up Brazil's Fred, who fired high.
Dani Alves tested Claudio Bravo with a thundering long-range effort but the Chile keeper did well to tip it over the bar.
Brazil thought they had scored again early in the second half when Hulk controlled a deep cross to fire in but referee Howard Webb booked the winger for handball.
At the other end, Cesar pulled off a sensational save to deny Charles Aranguiz from point-blank range in a pulsating game.
Chile, running on empty in extra time, almost snatched a dramatic last-minute winner when Mauricio Pinilla rattled the crossbar with a tremendous shot.
In the shoot out, keeper Cesar saved spot-kicks by Pinilla and Alexis before Jara failed to convert and the stadium erupted in celebration.
Some of Brazil's players celebrated wildly while others fell to the ground, exhausted and drained.
Willian, who missed a penalty for Brazil, sobbed uncontrollably, as Fred helped him to his feet.
As the crowd at the Mineirao Stadium roared, the Brazilian players joined hands in a human chain as Chile's team stood motionless.
Brazil has reached the quarterfinals at every World Cup since 1994.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)
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