BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari accepted that luck was on his team's side after they scraped into the World Cup quarter-finals, beating Chile on penalties.
“If you don't exploit the few opportunities you get, you can go out. We almost paid the price in the 118th minute when the ball hit the bar,” said Scolari, whose side triumphed 3-2 in a shoot-out at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte after a 1-1 draw over 90
minutes and extra time.
Brazil squandered several chances and then survived when substitute Mauricio Pinilla crashed a shot off the woodwork with penalties approaching.
Then, in the shoot-out itself, Willian and Hulk both missed for the tournament hosts but goalkeeper Julio Cesar made two crucial saves from Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez before Gonzalo Jara hit the post when he had to score to keep Chile in it.
“We had three or four chances to score a (second) goal and didn't do it. We had even possession and more shots on goal, but when you don't score you always run more of a risk,” Scolari said before praising his side for coping with the extreme pressure.
“This is a new team and even the most experienced players feel pressure. If you say you don't, you are lying.
“Willian took a penalty and missed it but he will gain experience from it. Now let's see if we can make less mistakes in the next matches, because if we make errors we will give away chances and might not be so lucky.
“Chile were brilliant. They are a well-organised team and it was a very balanced game, but I want to tell the people of Brazil that we have a good team and a lot of what we did today was due to the fans.”
Brazil will return to training on Monday as their attentions turn to a quarter-final tie against either Uruguay or Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday.
And Scolari will hope that his battered and bruised players, above all Neymar, recover in time for the next challenge.
“Neymar hurt his thigh right at the start of game from a heavy challenge (by Charles Aranguiz in the fourth minute). We need to evaluate it but we should have three, four or five days to try and make sure he can play the next game.
“We will need to recover and learn from what happened here to improve in the next game. The emotion generated by winning, this could help us.” – Sapa-AFP