Brazil looked every part the world beaters most expected in South Africa on Monday, coasting past burgeoning South American power Chile 3-0 in Johannesburg and earning their fifth consecutive berth in the quarterfinals.
Juan and Luis Fabiano each scored a goal before the break and Brazil’s aura seemingly did the rest, improving to 53-2-4 all-time in the World Cup after scoring first and a spotless 46-0-0 when they build a two-goal lead.
Robinho added a third tally in the 61st minute for good measure, setting up a star-studded quarterfinal matchup on July 2 with the Netherlands, who looked just as cozy on Monday in a 2-1 win over Slovakia. Brazil beat the Dutch in a penalty shootout in their last World Cup meeting in the 1998 semifinals in France.
The World Cup run ends after a promising campaign from Chile, who finished second in CONMEBOL qualifying and second to Spain in Group H. But the offensive magic from Humberto Suazo or Alexis Sanchez never materialized against Brazil, who picked up their second consecutive shutout and have given up just two goals in four games in South Africa.
Brazil got on the board in the 34th minute, breaking open a relatively stagnant first half hour between the two dynamic sides. Juan was left unmarked in the box on a Brazil corner kick, and promptly thumped a header past Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to give the Brazilians the early lead.
Fabiano was back at it again just four minutes later, tallying his third goal – and likely easiest – of the tournament thus far. The Sevilla striker timed his run through the Chilean defense perfectly, taking a composed through pass from Kaká and skirting Bravo to the right before finishing into an empty net.
The assist punctuated a welcome return for Kaká, the Real Madrid superstar who was controversially ejected from Brazil’s group play win over Ivory Coast and consequently suspended for a lifeless group finale against Portugal.
Robinho’s goal after the break was largely due to the dirty work of midfielder Ramires, who poured through the Chilean defense near midfield before eventually laying it off to his superstar striker. Robinho coolly curled a right-footed shot into the net from the top of the box, earning his eighth goal in six career matches against Chile.
BRAZIL: César, Alves, Juan, Maicon, Lucio, Bastos, Ramires, Silva, Kaká (Kleberson, 81’), Fabiano (Nilmar, 76’, Robinho (Melo, 85').
CHILE: Bravo, Fuentes, Contreras (Tello, 45’), Isla, Jara, Vidal, Beausejour, Carmona, González (Valdivia, 45’), Sánchez, Suazo.