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Hosts Brazil and Colombia progress to quarter-finals

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Hosts Brazil and Colombia progress to quarter-finals


Hosts Brazil qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday after beating Chile 3-2 in a nail-biting penalty shootout.

Paris Saint Germain bound David Luiz sent the home fans crazy on 18 minutes when he bundled in from close range for the opener – although Chile’s Gonzalo Jara appeared to get the final touch.

Chile took full advantage of some Brazilian sloppiness at the back to level on 32 minutes. After intercepting a Hulk thrown-in Eduardo Vargas sent Alexis Sanchez through on goal and the Barcelona man coolly rolled his shot past an out-stretched Julio Cesar.

The result stayed the same at the final whistle and when neither side could break the deadlock in extra time off to the spot both teams went.

Luiz got Brazil off the mark first before keeper Cesar stopped a poor Mauricio Pinilla effort.

Willian failed to double the hosts’ lead when he sent his shot wide of the goal but Cesar was on hand once more to stop Chile’s second attempt by Sánchez.

Mercelo made it two for Brazil while Chile finally got off the mark when Charles Aránguiz unleashed a cracker past Cesar into the top right corner.

The two sides found themselves level in the penalty contest when Hulk had his effort saved by Bravo and Marcelo Diaz confidently converted.

With the expectations of an entire nation on his shoulders Neymar stepped up for Brazil’s fifth and after a stuttery run-up slotted home nicely.

With the atmosphere at boiling point, the pressure was on Gonzalo Jara to convert and send the penalties further into sudden death mode but his attempt flew off the upright and sailed wide.

Wild celebrations from the team, fans inside the stadium and across a relieved nation followed as Brazil booked their ticket into the quarter-finals for a sixth consecutive time.

It was the fourth time Chile had made it to the knockout stages of the World Cup and each time they have been knocked out by Brazil.

J-Rod shines to send Colombia through

In the last eight Brazil will meet Colombia after James Rodriguez scored twice to hand his nation a 2-0 win over Uruguay.

Rodriguez sensationally fired Colombia into the lead on 28 minutes with arguably the finest goal of the tournament so far.

The Monaco man controlled the ball on his chest, swivelled and then hammered in a left-footed dipping volley from 20 yards out.

He was on the scoresheet five minutes after the break when he was on hand to sweep home a fine collective move from close range.

Pablo Armero delivered a delightful cross to the back post where Juan Cuadrado nodded it across the six yard box.

A waiting Rodriguez wasn’t going to miss his second on the night and tally-topping fifth of the tournament and calmly buried it in the back of the net.

It will be Colombia’s first appearance in the quarter-finals of the World Cup at the fifth time of asking.

Greeks and Dutch to fly the European flag

The second day of the last 16 sees the Netherlands face Mexico in Fortaleza while Recife plays host to a battle of the undersdogs – Costa Rica and Greece.

Netherland’s coach Louis Van Gaal welcomes back captain Robin Van Persie from suspension for the tie.

Nigel de Jong, Daley Blind, Arjen Robben and Stefan de Vrij are all carrying minor knocks but are expected to be fit for the 2010 losing finalists.

Leroy Fer is definitely missing, however, while Bruno Martins Indi, who is suffering from concussion remains a doubt.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has no injury concerns ahead of the match in Fortaleza.

But he will be without the suspended defender Jose Juan Vazquez.

This could force Herrera into formation change that could see Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez make his first start in Brazil.

Mexico are hoping to advance to the quarter-finals for a third time and first in 28 years.

Costa Rica are the tournament’s biggest surprise package and will look to continue their fairytale campaign by beating the 2004 European champions.

Coach Jorge Luis Pinto has a fully fit squad to choose from as the Central Americans – who shocked everyone by topping their group – target their first appearance in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Greece see their captain Kostas Katsouranis return to the fold after serving his suspension.

Goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis and defender Panagiotis Kone both sustained injuries in their final group game against the Cote D’Ivoire.

Karnezis is expected to be fit in time while Kone remains a doubt as his nation look to reach the quarters for a first time.

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