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The Sharp End Begins With Brazil-Chile, Colombia-Uruguay 

The Sharp End Begins With Brazil-Chile, Colombia-Uruguay 

It is Round of 16 time at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and the knockout phase begins with a pair of all-South American ties. Brazil and Chile get the ball rolling, and the host nation can take comfort from their clear supremacy in this fixture down the years, having won 48, drawn 13 and lost just seven of their 68 previous meetings – not to mention their haul of 159 goals for and 58 conceded. Games between Uruguay and Colombia have generally been more even, in contrast, La Celeste enjoying the upper hand thanks to 18 victories, nine draws and 11 defeats.

A Seleçao prevailed in two of their Group A contests and were held by Mexico in the other, but they – and star player Neymar – look to be positively growing in strength. That said, Chile will be no pushovers as they proved in a tough Group B, where they kicked off with a stylish 3-1 success against Australia before sinking holders Spain 2-0 and putting up solid resistance in a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands. They collected a few yellow cards along the way, though, and like Brazil have four key players risking suspension if they are booked again.

Uruguay, meanwhile, got their tilt off to the worst of starts when they lost to Costa Rica in Group D, a section featuring three previous world champions. Fourth-placed finishers at South Africa 2010, La Celeste then began their recovery by downing England 2-1 and they sealed their advance with a tight 1-0 triumph against Italy. That match ended up costing them dearly, however, as talismanic striker Luis Suarez has now picked up a nine-match ban, while six other players face a game on the sidelines if they receive cautions. As for Colombia, they will be looking to continue their momentum, having won all three of their outings in Group C while burying nine goals in the process – despite only managing 14 in their 13 previous World Cup matches.

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The matches
Round of 16
Brazil-Chile, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, 13.00 (local time)
Colombia-Uruguay, Estadio de Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, 17.00 (local time)

Did you know?
Superb sequences: Now unbeaten in ten international games, Colombia are fast closing in on their record run of 11 matches without defeat, set in 1996. Ominously, though, they now face the last team to get the better of them, Uruguay having triumphed in a 2014 World Cup qualifier on 10 September 2013. For their part, Brazil are unbeaten in 40 matches at home, their most recent setback on Brazilian soil coming in a 1-0 loss to Paraguay in Fortaleza on 21 August 2002.

Debut memories: A trio of Uruguay players took their first steps at international level against Colombia: Edinson Cavani (6 February 2008), Jose Gimenez (10 September 2013) and Luis Suarez (7 February 2007).

Unbeaten record: Colombia’s Argentinian coach Jose Pekerman has never lost a World Cup game, overseeing six wins and two stalemates. His Argentina side nonetheless exited Germany 2006 at the quarter-final stage, going down 4-2 on penalties to the hosts at the end of a 1-1 draw.

Goal glut: Brazil celebrated their 100th World Cup outing by sweeping aside Cameroon 4-1, the first time they had buried a quartet of goals at this level since overcoming Japan by the same scoreline in 2006. Despite the wait, the Cameroon win featured their 21st haul of four strikes or more in a finals fixture.

Suspended players
Luis Suarez (URU)

Treading the tightrope
Carlos Sanchez, Fredy Guarin (COL)
Martin Caceres, Walter Gargano, Egidio Arevalo, Fernando Muslera, Diego Godin, Diego Lugano (URU)
Neymar, Ramires, Luiz Gustavo, Thiago Silva (BRA)
Eugenio Mena, Charles Aranguiz, Francisco Silva, Arturo Vidal (CHI)

Check it out
Although just 32 sides lined up on the starting grid – and only 16 now remain – the World Cup is a truly global event. As FIFA.com recently revealed, “Around 40 per cent of the nearly three million tickets sold for Brazil 2014 were bought by people from outside the host country, resident in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.” Find out which nations have sent the most supporters, along with an array of other fascinating statistics and personal insights.

The word Clásico tends to enjoy an airing whenever two South American powers meet on the World Cup stage, and games involving Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay usually become high-intensity, combative affairs. The same cannot be said for matches between A Seleçao and Chile, though, with a genuine mutual respect lying at the heart of their rivalry, as FIFA.com investigated a few weeks back.

On this day
Not only are Brazil set to meet Chile for the third time in the Round of 16, they are about to cross swords for the second time in four years – and on the same day as their South African showdown. On 28 June 2010, the five-time winners emerged 3-0 victors at Ellis Park in Johannesburg courtesy of goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho. Their initial last-16 encounter almost fell on the same day too, Cesar Sampaio and Ronaldo both hitting doubles in a 4-1 victory for Brazil at the Parc des Princes on 27 June 1998. The teams also faced off in the semi-finals on 13 June 1962, when hosts Chile succumbed 4-2 following a pair of efforts apiece from Garrincha and Vava.

Source: FIFA.com

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