Brazil Dodges a World Cup Bullet
Chile had 'em.
Manager Jorge Sampaoli had assembled what many believed what his nation's strongest side in a generation. It qualified impressively for the World Cup and believed itself ready to charge out from under Brazil's looming shadow.
In fact, after being eliminated in a penalty shootout that was more inept than intense, Sampaoli could've simply called upon Dennis Green to stand in for him at the post-game presser.
But Brazil has plenty of work to do before anyone is gonna crown their ass this year.
If not for a Chilean own goal a crossbar, and a post, the World Cup hosts would have had a lot of 'splaining to do, starting with the disinterested defense that gave La Roja the equalizer:
Mauricio Pinilla's near-brilliant attempt in the last minute of extra time was thatclose to guaranteeing him immortality:
But, alas, it came down to who could miss the most penalties. And in that regard, Chile excelled. How does any team at this level go 2-for-5? This is is Gonzalo Jara nailing the right post, which also was the final nail in Chile's coffin:
And the Incredulous Hulk had no argument at all after being called for a hand ball that disallowed his goal:
- Brazil won, 4-2, in the 1962 semi-finals in Chile, of all places;in Chile;
- Brazil won, 4-1, in the 1998 Round of 16 in France;and
- Brazil won, 3-0, in the 2010 Round of 16 in South Africa.
So for the fourth time under the game's brightest lights, it was not to be for the feisty side that dumped Spain and put up a spirited fight against a Netherlands contingent that is -- compared to other favorites -- looking better and better.
Meanwhile, Chile is the latest to learn the hard way that there is no substitute for accuracy. None at all.
And the host nation has been put on notice. They are what Chile thought they were.