Chile almost stole a victory in the last minute of extra time when Mauricio Pinilla's thunderous shot soared through the Mineirao's atmosphere. Millions of Brazilian hearts were on the brink of a stroke.
A fraction of a second later, the screams of relief could be heard from the stands, the ball had struck the crossbar, and just like that Brazil received a lifeline.
That's how close Chile were from eliminating the hosts and their biggest rival. In the previous three matches between these two when playing in the World Cup, the Canarinha has won. Yesterday was not going to be the exception... Brazil won for the fourth consecutive time, but Chile deserved better, for their effort, their bravery, their wit and intelligence... they should have gone through, but the penalty shootout is a sour reminder that best one doesn't always win.
On the other Round of 16 match, Colombia took apart a shambolic Uruguay, and it was their main man James (pronounced Hames) Rodriguez, who once again reminded the world that it's not always about the "big" teams, by belting one of the most gorgeous goals of the world cup.
On the 25th minute of regular time, James gazed upon a floating ball, with his back facing the goal the Colombian star chested the ball down, took a half turn and before the ball hit the ground struck a volley into the top left corner.
It took me 45 words to describe a moment that lasted less than 3 seconds, and it is still a disservice to the goal. Maybe I should have screamed goal for two straight minutes like the commentators at Caracol (a Colombian TV Channel) did.
Matches for today:
- 12:00 PM EST: Netherlands vs Mexico @ Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza.
I honestly don't know what to say about this game, and 8 straight hours of Mexican football analysts have not helped at all. This match could go either way. If Mexico keep their calm just like they did against Brazil a fortnight ago, and most important stop Arjen Robben from storming their back line, then I can see them winning today's match probably on penalties.
On the other hand Netherlands are not Brazil, tactically they are more versatile, and their pace is faster too. The Oranje are also welcoming back Robin van Persie to their squad, and if you need a reminder of his qualities, here's his contender for the goal of the World Cup:
He created a new type of definition for a goal, a diving header volley... Can Rafael Marquez stop this man?
Netherlands 2 - 1 México
- 4:00 PM EST: Costa Rica vs Greece @ Arena Pernambuco, Recife.
Two of the surprises of the tournament, no one thought the Ticos could make it out of the Group D, yet they came out as winners. Greece did their part by waiting until the last minute of their last match to revive the memories of their 2004 Euro Cup winning campaign.
Greece will do what they know how to do best, defend. Eleven players behind the ball for the duration of the match. Costa Rica will have to prove that those victories against Uruguay and Italy were not a one off and try to outwit the Greeks.
Costa Rica 1 - 0 Greece
To make things a bit more interesting... a point will be awarded to those who get the results right and two extra points for each correct scoreline. Feeling lucky? Then make a bold prediction and win an extra point for each one you get right.
So TAY what are your predictions for today's matches?
I took the liberty to create a spreadsheet (still on the early stages) to make it easier to keep track of our records... anyway, if you want to access it, just click here.