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World Cup: Brazil vs. Chile Match Preview

Neymar and Dani Alves on one side, Alexis Sanchez and Claudio Bravo on the other. Two Barcelona players go, two stay. Who will win?

David Ramos

Brazil, one of the favorites, have a daunting task in the round of 16. Chile are an energetic, exciting team led by their star, Alexis Sanchez of FC Barcelona, and many are already pipping them to spark an upset.

Chile emerged second out of the "Group of Death" and despite losing their last game, have played some adventurous football full of attacking verve.

But betting against Brazil at home is never a wise move. This team may not have the legendary star power of some of the Canarinha's illustrious past, but that's pretty unfair. That's like saying your college valedictorian speech was not quite the Gettysburg Address.

Brazil have plenty of skill, especially in megastar Neymar, another FC Barcelona player. He is top-scorer, joint with Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller.

His teammate Oscar, despite being categorized as a selfless worker, has moments of magic as well.

Chile will welcome back "King" Arturo Vidal after he was rested against the Netherlands. Arguably the most complete player in football, he can play almost anywhere on the pitch.

There are some fitness issues: Chile's Gary Medel has an ankle knock and Brazil's David Luiz a back problem. However, both teams are near full-strength.

The winner will face either Uruguay or Colombia in yet another all-South American clash.

Brazil have won the recent encounters - the past three at World Cups, including comfortably eliminating Chile 3-0 in the South Africa. But things have changed. Chile have matured after Marcelo Bielsa introduced a high-pressing style back then. Jorge Sampaoli has continued the tradition, giving Chile an identity.

The big question is if the team will tire out due to its constant movement.

Meanwhile, Brazil's key weakness is a dependence on individuals. For the most part, this Brazil is full of workers, shuttlers, runners - not artists. That's fine as long as the artists - most of all Neymar - turn up, and everyone works for them. But if they don't, Brazil lack creative options.

Barcelona's newest signing, GK Claudio Bravo, has performed up to the standard of a Barcelona player. He's kept Chile's goal secure on numerous occasions.

Brazil have one of the best defenders in the game in Thiago Silva, and truly they aren't exactly weak almost anywhere. But they have yet to truly impress, despite not losing any games.

The favorites are Brazil, but Chile are in a good position. They are underdogs, sure, but just so - everyone knows they have a very good chance of knocking out the hosts. Plus, stylistically there are few sides as aesthetically pleasing. They are the neutrals' choice.

Still, home advantage could make the difference as Brazil continue on their path to become World Champions yet again.


BRAZIL:Julio Cesar; Alves, Silva, Luiz, Marcelo; Fernandinho (or Paulinho), Luiz Gustavo; Neymar, Oscar, Hulk; Fred (4-2-3-1)

CHILE: Bravo; Silva, Medel, Jara; Mena, Diaz, Aranguiz, Isla; Vidal; Sanchez, Vargas (3-4-1-2)

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