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Jun 28, 2014

Tense Selecao fans, not just in Brazil

ESPN's expert panel discuss Brazil's vulnerabilities and the heart Chile showed in their round of 16 match.

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - From the 80th minute, every Brazilian expat in the Clube Brasileiro on the main avenue of the city knew the round of 16 match versus Chile would be going to penalty kicks. Then, the shootout comes, and everyone leans in, locked on one of the three televisions around the room. One feed is slightly ahead, and more and more people find their way to it.

Brazil goes first and makes it.

A fan raises his arms.

Chile misses, the shot saved by keeper Julio Cesar.

A man in a Neymar jersey rubs his hands together.

Brazil misses next, too.

Some whistles rise from the crowd. The tension starts in earnest now. The World Cup could end in a few minutes, it seems to dawn on everyone.

Cesar makes another save.

The room, with flourished archways and marble columns, feels like a colonial time machine. It is flooded with antique light and is starting to buzz, shaking off the spiritual dust. An old woman with a walker stays longer than she planned, unable to leave.

Brazil scores, then Chile: It is now 2-1 Brazil.

A Milanesa Napolitana gets cold on a nearby table. Nobody's touched a bite. The seats at the table are empty.

Brazil takes its fourth kick and misses.

A young woman in her own private agony shakes her head. She folds her hands in prayer.

Chile scores.

All even. 2-2. The room is in complete silence.

Neymar steps up to the ball. The Brazilians clap, and one screams the striker's name just before Neymar makes contact with the ball. The shot goes in. One more save by Cesar, and Brazil would survive. The young woman covers her face with her hands. She taps her feet. She looks like she might cry. She doesn't look at the screen.

The echoing cheer tells her it's OK.

Brazil is moving on to the quarterfinals.

She says a prayer and then shows her hands to her friend.

They're shaking.