BRAZIL, June 28, 2014 — Brazilian goal keeper Julio Cesar gave a tearful interview after Brazil’s shootout win over Chile in World Cup play today. “Four years ago, I gave you an interview and I cried,” he told SportTv, referring to Brazil’s World Cup loss to the Netherlands, “Now I am crying tears of joy.”
After 120 minutes of soccer, it was Julio Cesar and the newly-blond striker Neymar, who finally pushed Brazil into the next round.
Chile played with flashes of brilliance, holding off Brazil throughout regular and over time.
A late Chilean shot that hit the goal post gave Brazil the reprieve to fight on through the rest of the match.
Julio Cesar not only saved the shoot out phase, with two amazing saves, but also made several outstanding saves during the game.
Ironically, most fans blamed the goalie for Brazil’s early exit from the last World Cup. He has officially redeemed himself.
In the first half, Brazil played its trademark Samba-style soccer, demonstrating flexibility, speed and intensity. Brazil dominated, feeding off the energy of the crowd.
The second half, however, saw a lazy and lackadazical Brazil take the field. Chile pounded Brazil’s defense, hoping for a second goal from a Brazilian defensive error, but was not able to score. A tired-looking Brazil resorted to long balls, losing possession and making the fewest passes ever for a Brazilian team.
Brazil, it seemed, had lost its rhythm.
At the 45th minute, Julio Cesar made a critical save, keeping the score tied at 1-1.
At the end of regular time, Brazil and Chile were tied 1-1, and the commentators started to wonder if Brazil simply was not up to the World Cup task.
In overtime, however, Brazil came back. For the last 45 minutes, Brazil was the only team that looked like it wanted to score. Chile started breaking down, leading to what the commentators called a “keystone cops” moment inside Chile’s penalty area.
In the shoot out phase, the most emotional way for a team to win or lose, Julio Cesar stepped up and gave Brazil the lift it needed. He saved two shots, an almost impossible task for a keeper . Neymar, the last Brazilian shooter, displayed his traditional stutter-step and scored. Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara hit the post, giving Brazil the win.
Brazil will next play the winner of the Colombia-Uruguay game.
Hulk played an excellent game, demonstrating strength and speed.
Neymar, although with opportunities, has not yet displayed the dominance fans expected. He carefully avoided using his left foot, taking too much time to set up his right. In fairness, of course, Chile marked the super star with two and three defenders each time.
Chile demonstrated that it is a team to be reconed with, matching Brazil for 120 minutes of play.
Overall, Brazil made errors, lost the ball too many times, and failed to maintain possession. For the bulk of the middle of the game, they lacked the spark fans are used to seeing.
The question Brazilian fans are asking now is, when will the real Brazilian team show up?