Chile: Forget History, We're Coming for You Brazil | World Cup
Chile: Forget History, We're Coming for You Brazil (Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images for Sony)

Eliminated three times by Brazil in past World Cups, Chile vowed a fearless and fighting approach on their do-or-die match against hosts and favorites Brazil

Despite the combative talk, Chile's 'La Rojas' are depending on the fitness of two key players -- defender Gary Medel known as "The Pitbull" and midfielder Arturo Vidal nicknamed "King Arthur" -- for the showdown at Belo Horizonte's Mineirao stadium. Brazil, who will again be screamed on by legions of fans expecting nothing less than a sixth World Cup, knocked out Chile with relative ease at the same stage in their last two appearances, 2010 and 1998. They also broke Chilean hearts in 1962, beating them in the semi-finals when 'La Rojas' were hosting the tournament.

"Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times. For me that's very important for football and for history. Winning against Brazil will not be easy. I think they are statistically better than any national team and now they play at home, in their own country, and this means a huge responsibility for them. They have a great coach, they have great players so we know we have an opportunity, we have a chance, we have an opportunity to change history. But it will be difficult. We will try to overcome this difficult situation, with courage , with conviction as we have done in the qualifying round, in the group phase. But bearing in mind that our opponent is a very good team," Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli told reporters.

Chile's 2-0 defeat of reigning champions Spain sent shockwaves round the world and confirmed the strength of the South Americans' aggressive and pacy team. Sampaoli's confidence was echoed by defender Eugenio Mena, saying Chile's performances in beating both Spain and Australia at the group stage had won them respect around the world.

"We're convinced that we can win, that we can achieve victory. It's a very intense moment for us but we think we have an opportunity to change history. A history that has been negative for us, until now," Mena said.

The Argentine coach admitted Medel would not have played if the match had been on Friday due to a muscle injury in his left leg, but held out hope the defender might recover in time for Saturday's lunchtime kickoff. Vidal is still suffering the effects of recent knee surgery.

One of the few advantages Chile have is that their training base is just a few miles from the Mineirao stadium, so although the atmosphere will be hostile on Saturday, the city at least has felt like home over the last two weeks. Chile is not expected to man-mark Neymar, but will seek to suffocate Brazil's leading man at every turn, the coach said. At the other end, they are relying on Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez to do the damage.

Sampaoli said it was no wonder he played better for Chile than he did for the Spanish club. "I feel Alexis is very comfortable with the national team. He plays a very important role for us. He is highly appreciated by his colleagues so that's why he's playing so well. In his club, well maybe his teammates don't appreciate him as much. I think he's got enough assets to be one of the best players in the world. He's very capable that's why he's here with us. He's created many opportunities, he has made very important plays that were decisive for us," Sampaoli said.




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"Chile: Forget History, We're Coming for You Brazil "