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Host Brazil survives against Chile in penalty kicks

Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final Semifinals Quarterfinals Round of 16
A1 Brazil 1 Netherlands (FIFA rank: 15) B1
(Brazil advances 3-2 on PKs) Brazil (FIFA rank: 3) Noon today, Fortaleza, ESPN
B2 Chile 1 Mexico (FIFA rank: 20) A2
4 Friday, Fortaleza, ESPN 4 July 5, Salvador, ESPN
C1 Colombia 2 Costa Rica (FIFA rank: 28) D1
Colombia (FIFA rank: 8) 4 today, Recife, ESPN
D2 Uruguay 0 Greece (FIFA rank: 12) C2
4 July 8, Belo Horizonte, ESPN 3 July 13, Rio, Ch. 28 4 July 9, Sao Paulo, ESPN
E1 France (FIFA rank: 17) Argentina (FIFA rank: 5) F1
Noon Monday, Brasilia, ESPN Noon Tuesday, Sao Paulo, ESPN
F2 Nigeria (FIFA rank: 44) Switzerland (FIFA rank: 6) E2
Noon Friday, Rio, ESPN2 Noon July 5, Brasilia, Ch. 28
G1 Germany (FIFA rank: 2) Belgium (FIFA rank: 11) H1
4 Monday, Porto Alegre, ESPN 4 Tuesday, Salvador, ESPN
H2 Algeria (FIFA rank: 22) United States (FIFA rank: 13) G2
FIFA rank: world ranking as of June 5 Third-place match: semifinal losers, 4 July 12, Brasilia, ESPN

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Tight and tense as it was, Brazil's national obsession of winning the World Cup on home soil was prevented from taking a desperately disappointing turn Saturday.

And it wasn't Neymar, the country's poster boy for this year's World Cup, who played the key role. It was goalkeeper Julio Cesar, the country's scapegoat of the last World Cup, who had several crucial saves and got help from the woodwork in a 3-2 penalty shootout win over Chile in the Round of 16.

With the score level at 1, Brazil was inches from an early exit in the knockout stage when Chile forward Mauricio Pinilla hit the crossbar in the final seconds of extra time. Then, on the final kick of the match and after two saves from Cesar in the shootout, Gonzalo Jara hit the post.

"I believe the Brazilian people just needed this," said Cesar, whose mistake four years ago in South Africa led to a quarterfinal loss. "The players, everybody else, we needed this."

Brazil still didn't look all that convincing in its bid for a sixth World Cup title.

"Let's see if we can make fewer mistakes in the next matches," coach Felipe Scolari said. "Perhaps next time we won't be as lucky."

To be fair, it wasn't just luck that saw Brazil through to the quarterfinals at Mineirao Stadium, a sea of Brazilian yellow with islands of Chilean red.

Neymar, David Luiz and Marcelo scored in the shootout, and Cesar — who plays for Toronto in Major League Soccer — saved penalties from Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez before watching Jara's try hit the post.

"I think Chile can be very proud of what this national team has given," coach Jorge Sampaoli said. "They have defended their national colors with pride and with bravery."

Brazil extended its 39-year unbeaten streak in home competitive matches to 61. It has never lost to Chile at home in 27 meetings.

Chilean forward Sanchez scored in the 32nd minute to tie the score. And after referee Howard Webb disallowed Hulk's second-half goal, ruling he had used his arm to control a long pass, Brazil lost the initiative.

Colombia eliminates Suarez-less Uruguay

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — With a spectacular swivel and strike, James Rodriguez provided one of the highlights of this World Cup.

The midfielder scored one of the best goals of the tournament, then added a second to put Colombia into the quarterfinals for the first time with a 2-0 win over Uruguay, setting up a meeting with Brazil.

Rodriguez gave his team the lead with a terrific long-range volley in the 28th minute after trapping the ball with his chest. Colombia dominated an Uruguay side that sorely missed banned striker Luis Suarez.

Rodriguez, 22, leads the tournament with five goals, picking up the slack with star striker Radamel Falcao out injured.

"I think he is the best player of the tournament so far," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said.

Uruguay found no such answers without Suarez, the striker who sat out as part of his suspension for biting.

Host Brazil survives against Chile in penalty kicks 06/28/14 [Last modified: Saturday, June 28, 2014 10:39pm]
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