But the live-blog was fun! I think I'll be back tomorrow at 2:30 for the Battle of Iberia, Spain vs. Portugal.
90 min: But if the Dutch can lull Brazil into a sleepy game, maybe Robben or Van Persie can sneak one past them in the second half. More likely, though, Kaka, Fabiano, & co. will find the soft spot in the Dutch center defense. Slovakia almost scored two that way this morning.
88 min: Netherlands-Brazil should be a fascinating game. Two storied sides, neither of which seems currently to be playing the risky, goal-ward strategy that made it famous. I expect the Dutch come out with triple caution flags: brace yourself for plenty of back-passes to the goalkeeper.
86 min: Valdiva and Sanchez thread a few deft passes through the Brazilian box, but, characteristically today, it breaks down without a shot or real threat to the goal. Chile has oodles of technique, it seems, but lack that gritty goal scoring instinct.
83 min: Sad to see Chile go out like this. Like Mexico, they were one of the most entertaining teams of the group stage, but their draw virtually ended their tournament before it could really bloom. Then again, they only have themselves to blame: a win over Uruguay would really have set Mexico up for a run; and if Chile could have scored a few more goals vs. Honduras, they'd have topped the group even with a loss to Spain.
80 min: "The goals are certainly flowing, in the round of 16," says Martin Tyler. That's true, but most of them have been disappointingly one-sided. 4-1, 3-1, 3-0, etc etc. The best matches so far came on the first day, between Ghana/USA and Uruguay/S. Korea. Let's hope Spain and Portugal can up the ante tomorrow... I think I'll take a stab at another live-blog for that one.
78 min: It's obviously a definite possibility that Brazil are simply a class better than anyone else in the world. But given Chile's particular history against them, and their rather limp showing today, I wonder if they came into this game with a burden of intimidation they didn't show against Spain, Switzerland, etc.
75 min: Ooh, a nice turn and poke by Suazo, deep in the box, may be Chile's best chance yet... but it's blocked by Julio Cesar, without even taking advantage of the massive foresails that surround his upper legs.
73 min: Robinho barely misses notching a fourth for Brazil, although really it only seems a matter of time. It would be fun to see Chile sneak one in, though, not least because I called it at 3-1 in my yahoo pick'em group.
71 min: Good news for the Netherlands: Ramires, the Blue Kenyan, is missing the next match with multiple yellows. Not that it should bother Dunga, with his continent's worth of depth on the bench. Kirk, 31% sounds reasonable but I might be even a bit less optimistic. 1 in 4 sounds about right to me.
69 min: Kaka misses the target, wasting a ferocious run by Michel Bastos. Interesting to see just how thoroughly the Brazilians are squashing Chile, here. Against Spain, the other supposed tourney favorites, Chile looked quite spunky, only conceding on a weird goalkeeper error and then going down to 10 men on a bogus red card. Against Brazil, they don't look like they belong on the same pitch.
66 min: Valdiva's blast from the top of the box, I think, was a legit chance. But on the whole the Chileans seem to lack the goal-scorers to match their playmakers. Maybe if Suazo were really at 100% they would be more dangerous... but probably not here, against Brazil.
64 min: Chile enjoy a moment of threat, with a free kick and then a few passes around the box. But a mistimed Suazo pass gives it away and they're still really without a legitimate chance at goal.
61 min: Apparently Ramires's nickname in Brazil is "the Blue Kenyan," owing to his dark skin color. Wikipedia notes: "This is a compliment, regarding his velocity and never-ending stamina on the field, comparable to the outstanding performances of Kenyans in marathons." Charming. Those sensitive Brazilians.
58 min: GOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL. GOLLLLAZZZOOOO. A definite golazo. Heretofore relatively anonymous holding midfielder Ramires weaves through the center of the Chilean defense, then flicks gently to Robinho for an unstoppable finish. Brazil's depth is amazing. I'd never heard much about Ramires before this match, but he just made one of the six or seven sweetest plays of the tournament.
56 min: I can't find the Lalas own goal thing either, Paul, although it sounds right. Maybe we're just getting things confused with Jeff Agoos after all, who Wikipedia reminds me put one in his own net against Portugal in '02.
54 min: I don't love Brazil in general, or this team in particular, but it is fun to see their giant center fullback Lucio rumbling down the middle of the pitch like a giraffe with the ball at his feet. You just don't see that from John Terry or Fabio Cannavaro or anyone else, really.
51 min: I agree, Paul. Kaka is the least likeable Brazilian star in memory. Even though he was screwed by shameful theatrics into picking up that red card against Ivory Coast, it was fun to see. He's just a kind of snotty little twit, isn't he?
48 min: Back to ESPN announcers, my favorite studio personality by far is the extravagantly AFRICAN-voiced narrator, who usually introduces things just after the world-music drums and chorale fade into the background. He just sounds so damn cheerful.
46 min: Chile make two substitutions, Valdiva and Tello for Gonzalez and Rodriguez. Valdiva was a consistent attacking spark in the Chile games I saw in the group stages... he'll need to make a big difference here, though.
HALF: On the other hand, the game broadcasters have been almost uniformly excellent. All the British play by play men have a delightful command of soccer verbs and adjectives, and the analysts are mostly fair and thoughtful.
HALF: To be honest, I don't love any of ESPN's halftime analysts. With the exception of Jurgen Klinsmann, whose broken-English insights have an effortless charm, they're all kind of peevish grumps. Ruud Gullit and Steve Macnanaman are always explaining goals as defensive errors, bitching about ref decisions, and issuing various other half-persuasive complaints against the world.
HALF: Why is Alexei Lalas on TV? Is he "handsome"? Is it his sideburns? What happened to Jeff Agoos?
HALF: OK, forgive the obvious jabs at commercials, but really, who hired the female narrator of that "CISCO: The Human Network" ad? She sounds somewhere in between swallowing a smug laugh and choking on a live frog. After this Cup, I would pledge never to buy anything Cisco makes, ever, again, but I don't know what they make.
46 min: Half time in a game that doesn't look like it's taking us anyplace out of the ordinary. Chile isn't threatening anyone with their possession, and Brazilian counters are dangerous every time. Just not a good matchup here, tactically or stylistically: this could well be 4-0 or 5-0 by the end, and seemingly without excessive labor on Brazil's part.
44 min: Maicon seems at liberty to bloop in as many crosses from the right wing as he feels himself entitled to. This one is headed over the bar by Luis Fabiano.
42 min: Oh, OK, I see them. Cesar takes a goal kick, and fans feel the breeze from his Jnco brand shorts in the seventeenth row.
40 min: Michel Bastos snaps a grass-cutter just wide of the net. Chile are starting to look more than a little discombobulated. I don't think we've had a shot of Julio Cesar's massive green shants in the past 10 minutes.
36 min: GOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL. Uh oh. A clumsy Luis Fabiano flick wastes Brazil's first post-goal breakaway, as Chile presses forward, but they soon get another one. Robinho is released down the left, who finds Kaka at the top of the box. He pushes it forward nimbly to Fabiano, who swivels round the keeper and makes it a very quick 2-0 Brazil lead. And another could be coming.
34 min: GOOOOOOOOOLLLL. But not a Golazo, I don't think. Maicon's neat work on the right side wins yet another corner for Brazil, and the man of the match so far places it perfectly across the 6-yard box. Taller Brazilian heads appear everywhere, and Juan plunks it smoothly in the upper middle of the net.
31 min: I gather Howard Webb refereed the Champions League final, as well. Is he FIFA's go-to guy these days? What happened to the older generation of World Cup refs -- the Italian, Collina, who looked like a miniature Martian, and that blonde-maned Swede who seemed always to be trying to find a camera?
30 min: Evidently, He got involved shortly afterwards, because Chile hammer their kick right into the three man Brazilian wall.
29 min: Kaka flagrantly trips Vidal outside the box and earns a yellow card. I wonder what role Jesus played in that sequence of events.
26 min: After a Maicon free kick, Lucio beats two Chileans with a deft dribble on the left side. After he wins a corner, he's tripped down in the box, but no decision is given by Webb. A good thing, too. Questionable early penalties ruin games.
23 min: "The Frenchman" wins a second corner for Chile. The bald-headed Suarez, who may have to score today to keep Chile in this match, whips it in but Howard Webb blows for a foul. I didn't see it on the replay.
21 min: Kaka knifes convincingly down the left wing, but Robinho's cheeky back-heel fools no one. Both teams are struggling to make their way through the midfield at the moment.
20 min: Chile can't be at all unhappy with this start. Only one really dangerous moment for the Brazilians so far, and possession has been somewhat split. Now Gonzalo Jara gives it up for Chile with a ridiculously optimistic blast from 40 yards.
17 min: Martin Tyler on ESPN notes that Haitian-born Jean Beausejour's nickname is "The Frenchman." He may the only remaining player in the World Cup who actually knows how to speak French.
15 min: Brazil's Ramires now tries a 25-yarder. He does Steven Gerrard one better, missing Row Z and putting it right on goal, but the keeper isn't threatened. The game has settled a bit after a more jagged looking first 10 minutes.
12 min: A Chile attack putters out as Julio Cesar grabs a stray Suazo pass. Cesar is definitely wearing the baggiest shorts in the 2010 World Cup. He looks like Chris Webber, circa 1995.
9 min: Gilberto Silva, Brazil's "invisible wall" of a holding midfielder, tests Bravo with a 30 yard blast that sets up another Maicon corner. Now Kaka spins one wide of goal, relieving the Brazilian spell for a moment.
7 min: Now Brazil are enjoying the bulk of the possession, with Maicon very active on the right flank. This game smells like goals.
4 Minute: A great counterattacking chance for Brazil down the left wing! Fabiano is practically alone on goal, but he wastes it wide left, failing to threaten Claudio Bravo.
3 Minute: It's all in Brazil's half right now. Sanchez nicks in a pass to Suazo down the right, but it's grabbed by goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
* What the hell is that "speed meets" speed Adidas thing about? Nike's yodeling "Write the Future" thing kicks its ass.
* And what's up with the "It Just Takes One Moment" ad? It seems to be about US Soccer, but the narrator is British-accented. Odd.
* Go ahead and send in your comments to me via email -- snarky asides and earnest questions are both welcome!
A few pre-match facts and figures to chew on:
* Maicon IS the man: according to FIFA's stats, he has the third most solo runs in the tournament, but has only suffered 1 ball-losing tackle. (Cristiano Ronaldo has the same # of runs, but 5 lost tackles)
* With Elano out injured, Brazil will play Maicon alongside fellow right back Dani Alves, now moved to midfield.
* Pablo Contreras and Ismael Fuentes start as center-backs for Chile, replacing the suspended Ponce and Medel.