Chile won match, but Brazil advance
The first half hour from the Seleção was in keeping with the magnitude of the game. Brazil played well defensively, was strong, created chances and made it 1-0 through David Luiz. Nonetheless, it wasn't a team that shined on the technical side. The exchange of passes was disappointing, Oscar spent more time breaking up the play than creating chances, and Neymar, nervous and seemingly carrying an injury, tried and failed to finish.
Although the defence was almost perfect, when Hulk made an error in playing the ball back, Marcelo couldn't get there and Alexis Sánchez scored.
Following the Chilean goal, the earlier problems for Brazil continued and worsened. Brazil had already conceded a goal from one of Chile's best-known plays -- stealing the ball in attack -- and was intent on protecting itself against another of Chile's great qualities: the interchange of passes.
Exchanging passes in a midfield capable of alleviating pressure even in the toughest moments was always a quality of the Seleção, but it isn't at the moment.
This led to the anxiety building to the point that the fans knew the meaning of this draw. It meant that the Seleção had already lost the game. What wasn't known was which team would clinch the quarterfinal spot.
It was Brazil, thanks to Júlio César and not thanks to the team, whose nerves were still on edge. Not even coach Luiz Felipe Scolari could help this time. He tinkered badly with the team when he tried bringing on a striker with the ability to hold the ball up. He didn't make any attempt to remedy the main illness of the Seleção, the midfield.
This needs to be rectified in the training sessions starting on Monday. The players need to understand that they have been given a reprieve but won't survive another dramatic performance like they had in the Mineirão.
Paulo Vinicius Coelho ("PVC") is a veteran Brazilian sports journalist who has covered four World Cups and five Champions League finals. He is a football specialist, ESPN commentator in Brazil and columnist for Folha de S. Paulo, a popular Brazilian daily. He has written six books, including "Bola Fora," a history of the exodus of Brazilian players. Follow him on Twitter @pvcespn.