One day with no World Cup football was far too much, and the round of 16 began Saturday with the elimination games starting to unfold after a one-day break from action in Brazil.
The group stage is now in the rear view mirror, and the national teams fortunate enough to advance to the knockout stage now try to get their way into the quarterfinals. That's easier said than done for all of the four teams taking the pitch on Saturday.
With four South American teams in one corner of the bracket, it guarantees for one to make the semifinals, but also leaves no room for the other three to advance. Argentina are the lone South American nation that advanced and didn't face off Saturday.
Let's break down the latest results from Day 16 of action.
|49||Brazil||1-1 (3-2 pen.)||Chile|
Updated Bracket: Visit FIFA.com for a complete round-of-16 bracket.
Day 16 Results
Brazil 1, Chile 1 (3-2 pen.)
They were taken to the brink and it took all they had in the tank, but Brazil advanced onto the quarterfinals after slipping past Chile in penalty kicks.
The Brazilians looked to be cruising in the penalty shootout phase after taking an early lead, but Chile knotted it up heading into the final kick. Pressure was mounting and the momentum swung in the direction of the Chileans down the stretch.
Neymar would score to put Brazil up 3-2, then Chile's attempt from Gonzalo Jara hit the post, as Bleacher Report illustrated:
OFF THE POST! Brazil advances 3-2 on penalty kicks! #WorldCup— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 28, 2014
Brazil were certainly hoping to get out to an early lead and keep the energy up in Belo Horizonte, and that's just what they did.
Following a corner kick, the ball went into the box and David Luiz was quick to connect with it to put Brazil in front. He contested the ball with a Chile defender and it trickled into the net for an 18th-minute goal.
Should Brazil be concerned after Saturday's match?
Just 14 minutes later though, it all got wiped away by way of a Chile equalizer.
Hulk committed a costly turnover in the defending third, the ball fell to the feet of Alexis Sanchez in the box. He didn't waste the opportunity, putting it past Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar to equalize and knot it up at 1-1 entering halftime.
Chile were the aggressors in the second half, but there was nothing doing between the two sides and it entered extra time. That wasn't before Cesar made a spectacular save to keep things level, as Footy Vines captured:
SAVE!! Incredible reaction save from Julio Cesar https://t.co/jwdU2xiHZR— Footy Vines.com (@Footy_Vines_) June 28, 2014
Brazil had a close call themselves in the second half, as ESPN FC captured a Hulk winner that was negated by a rightly-called handball:
RESULTS! 79% think Howard Webb made the right decision & this was a handball from Hulk. You be the judge. WATCH » http://t.co/0pQI9H3NRZ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2014
As the match entered the 120th minute, Chile nearly won it off a shot from Mauricio Pinilla that clanked off the bar. But it was to no avail, as the match entered penalty kicks.
When they came, Cesar was the clear hero with a number of clutch penalty saves. Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel noted his dominance:
Julio Cesar > Julius Caesar— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) June 28, 2014
Squawka Football reported stats from the match, which were noticeably even:
It certainly took more than they had hoped to get it done, but Brazil are through to the next round after a tough test from the Chileans. There were times throughout the 120 minutes that their progression seemed to be in major doubt.
Up next for the host country is Colombia, which topped Uruguay 2-0 in Saturday's second and final match.
Colombia 2, Uruguay 0
Saturday's clash between Colombia and Uruguay needed one lone attacker to put the team on his back and lead the way to victory. With Luis Suarez out for Uruguay, Colombia's James Rodriguez assumed that duty.
Rodriguez's two goals—the first arguably the goal of the World Cup so far—spurred the Colombians to a 2-0 victory over Uruguay. But this one propelled them into the quarterfinals and came against undoubtedly their stiffest competition yet.
As previously stated, Rodriguez's first goal was something to behold. He settled a ball at the top of the box with his chest, and volleyed it from about 25 yards out—just out of the reach of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and inside the bar.
ESPN FC caught footage of the goal:
James Rodriguez's wonderstrike -- watch and be amazed » http://t.co/dQnOw9minQ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2014
Uruguay pressed on for much of the first half, racking up shots and decent scoring chances. But as told by their 16 total shots and just four on goal, the quality just wasn't there for many of the attacks.
As ESPN Stats and Information noted, they just couldn't finish without Suarez:
Smelling blood, Rodriguez struck again in the 50th minute on a close-range chance to put Colombia up 2-0 and seemingly put the dagger in Uruguay's comeback bid.
It was just another display of goal-scoring prowess for both Colombia and Rodriguez, as Squawka Football demonstrated:
Colombia has been a force to be reckoned with so far in Brazil. Saturday's matched marked their fourth victory in as many appearances, and they seem to be clicking even without star striker Radamel Falcao in the fold.
They will have to hope they can carry that momentum into the next match. They face the host country of Brazil next, who are one of the World Cup favorites but also looked less than convincing in their penalty-shootout win over Chile.
Meanwhile, Uruguay's action in Brazil is over. After somehow getting out of a tough Group D, there was no repeat performance of their 2010 semifinal appearance in store.
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