Brazil 1 Chile 1: Julio Cesar the hero as hosts squeak through on penalties
Goalkeeper saves two in the shoot-out as Brazil survive by the skin of their teeth
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved two spot-kicks in a shootout against Chile to send the hosts into the World Cup quarter-finals 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time on Saturday.
Four years to the day since Brazil eliminated Chile at the same stage of the 2010 tournament, they did it again when Gonzalo Jara sent his spot-kick against the post after Cesar had twice denied the battling Chileans.
"It was complicated," Cesar said in a television interview.
"The pressure of representing Brazil and playing at home is really great. We played well in the first half but after Chile equalised they got into the game.
“My teammates are giving me a lot of strength on the field so I give my best. We’re just three steps away and I hope to give another interview with Brazil partying.”
Five-times champions Brazil will next play the winners of the other last-16 match later on Saturday between Uruguay and Colombia.
"Before the penalties Julio said, Hit them with confidence and I’ll stop three," Thiago Silva said.
"It was preordained. Chile were a great team but we found strength. The most important thing is that the group is united, independent of any mistakes."
David Luiz put Brazil ahead after 18 minutes but Alexis Sanchez equalised for Chile before halftime.
The Brazilians, who had eliminated their fellow South Americans in three previous World Cups, set a blistering pace from the start and Marcelo took a first crack at Chile with a volley that sailed wide.
Chile quickly lost the battle in midfield but their defence kept tournament joint top scorer Neymar constantly in check.
WATCH: Brazil take the lead
Chile rattled the bar in the final seconds and Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo said that let off gave his team belief.
"A shot like that, you imagine lots of things, the dream of millions of Brazilians ending like that," he told Sportv. "But we drew strength from it, and now we know it will get harder and harder. We did it and we gave a little bit of joy to Brazilians."
Thiago Silva said the match, played in front of a passionate crowd at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, was a unique moment for Brazil’s inexperienced side.
"We suffered, we know Chile would push us back and they deserve credit," he said. "We know they are very mobile and that made it hard for me and David (Luiz), especially him with his sore back. He was a warrior today, and that shows the strength and the unity we have."
"It is going to get harder," he added. "We have three games to realize our dreams and the dreams of Brazilians."
Brazil took the lead when Neymar whipped in a corner in the 18th minute, Thiago Silva headed it on and David Luiz, with what looked like some help from Chile’s Jara, flicked it in for his first international goal in his 40th appearance.
With the small red patches of Chile fans in the Mineirao stadium swallowed up by a vast sea of yellow shirts, five-times champions Brazil kept pouring forward and Neymar should have done better when he raced clear only to drive a low shot wide.
Chile, however, levelled 14 minutes later, after making the most of a throw-in mixup between Hulk and Marcelo, to send Alexis into the box and the forward drilling in to stun the crowd into temporary silence.
WATCH: Alexis Sanchez equalises
Neymar, deciding to take matters into his own hands, went agonisingly close with a header that scraped past the post and controlled a superb deep cross-field ball to set up Fred, who fired high.
Dani Alves tested Claudio Bravo with a thundering long-range effort but the Chile keeper did well to tip it over the bar.
Brazil, who had won nine of their previous 10 meetings with Chile, thought they had scored again early in the second half when Hulk controlled a deep cross to drill in but referee Howard Webb booked the winger for handball.
At the other end Cesar pulled off a sensational save to deny Charles Aranguiz from point-blank range in a pulsating game where players of both teams resembled tightrope walkers with no safety with one wrong pass proving costly.
Chile, running on empty in extra time, almost snatched a dramatic last-minute winner when Mauricio Pinilla rattled the crossbar with a tremendous shot.
But keeper Cesar saved spot-kicks by Pinilla and Alexis before Jara failed to convert and the stadium erupted in celebration.