Statistical Tidbits: From a world statistical perspective, Chile is most remarkable for its copper exports, large percentage of smokers, and high rates of child labor. Brazil, meanwhile, is notable for fruit juice production, website defacement, and murders committed by youths. Just thought you should know.
Player to Watch: I really want to talk about Alexis Sanchez, Chile's answer to Cristiano Ronaldo, or Jean Beausejour, the most unlikely named Chilean since national hero Bernardo O'Higgins. But the real key in this game (given Chile's seven goals allowed in qualifying) is on the Brazilian side of the pitch. So I'll nominate right back Maicon, who's been perhaps Brazil's best player in group stages -- besides his miracle-goal against North Korea, he's consistently driven the offense with surging runs, while rarely leaving the defense exposed as a consequence. If Brazil are left to bombing long balls to Luis Fabiano, Chile has a chance; but if Brazil can get Maicon and Miguel Bastos roaring up and down the wings, holding possession, and slicing crosses into the box, this one could be over by halftime.
Who to Support: Unless Italy are involved, I almost always root for the favorities in World Cup knockout round action. Soccer underdogs aren't like other sports underdogs -- usually, like Greece in Euro '04, they thrive by charmlessly obstructing the game to negate the superior team's explosive advantages. (Well, maybe that's true in other sports, but from an entertainment perspective it's most fatal in soccer). The big teams, on the other hand, have the most confidence, the most skill, and provide the best value for memorable, titanic clashes.
This game is a different animal, though: Chile love to take risks and score goals, and I don't know how much less interesting they would be as a quarterfinalist. Plus, any Brazilian loss is automatically a memorable game; and a Chile win would open things up for the Netherlands in the top half. So I'll pull mostly for an entertaining match, but lean slightly toward the underdog here.
What to Expect: Goals. Most of them Brazilian. Two of Chile's three veteran fullbacks (Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce) are suspended with double yellows cards, and Zonal Marking argues, persuasively, that Marcelo Bielsa's aggressive pressing style will open things up for lethal Brazilian blitzes at goal. I'll say, cold-bloodedly, Brazil 3, Chile 1.