Brazil advanced to the quarter-finals of the World Cup after holding their nerve to down Chile on penalties.

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar was the hero, saving twice in the shoot-out before Chile defender Gonzalo Jara's final spot-kick crashed off the woodwork to hand the World Cup hosts a 3-2 win.

The shoot-out drama unfolded after a pulsating game at Belo Horizonte's Mineirao Stadium after 120 minutes of normal and extra-time ended with the South American rivals locked at 1-1.

Brazil, roared on by their partisan support, started strongly, taking the lead through a goal credited to David Luiz after 18

minutes.

Neymar swung a corner in from the left and the Paris Saint-Germain defender rose to turn the ball into the net although replays showed it was helped on by Chile defender Gonzalo Jara.

But Chile came roaring back and equalised after 32 minutes, Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez punishing slack play in the penalty area to slot past Julio Cesar.

A thrilling finale to extra-time almost saw Chile snatch a sensational victory when striker Mauricio Pinilla saw a shot crash back off the woodwork in the dying seconds with Cesar beaten.

Sapa-AFP