By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | June 29, 2017
Openingdoorz on Chile’s tryst with penalties since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the day on which they were taken! A mysterious fact…
It’s uncanny: three years to this day (June 28, 2014) Chile had to exit from the World Cup on penalties. Claudio Bravo on that day was as invincible as he was yesterday against Portugal in the first semi-final of the Confederations Cup, on in Russia. But it was Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César who saved two penalties to put his team through to the quarter-finals as they won (3-2) after being tied 1-1 at full time.
Last night, Chile and Portugal attacked. This time too the crossbar and the upright, apart from the goalkeepers Rui Patricio and Claudio Bravo stood tall for their teams.
But when it was time for the shootout, Bravo wiped out the ghost of their World Cup exit effecting three magnificent saves, while Chile netted all three penalties. Portugal, as expected, were shattered. But that’s what penalties do to the best of the teams. On this day, it was a match that could have gone anyone’s way but Chile’s Bravo rose to the occasion to set up a final clash with the winners of the second-semifinal between Germany and Mexico.
Three years ago, it was heart-breaking to see the Chilean team troop out after putting up a fantastic effort against the home team in front of a crowd rooting for the Brazilians. Chile broke the Brazilian defence but the crossbar in the dying minutes of extra time, and the upright in the last penalty along with Caesar, stood in their way. Chile lost the match but won the hearts of soccer fans the world over.
Brazil had begun with a bang in the first session. Chile, however, had caught on and never let even a stray, Brazilian offensive fructify. At the other end of the post stood Caesar, the crossbar and the upright, who each denied a Chilean volley into the Brazilian net.
First, Caesar effected a super save of a brilliant 1-2-3-4 by Chile. Then, in the dying minutes of extra time, the crossbar came in the way.
In the penalties, it was Caesar and the upright that foiled the final volley for Chile. After that it was a sea of yellow…
Last year, on June 27, Chile beat Argentina for the Copa America Cup, again on penalties (4-2) after the teams were deadlocked 0-0 at extra time just like last night against Portugal.
Two back-to-back Copa America wins and now the Confederations Cup beckons, who will Chile meet in the final? Will it be Mexico or Joachim Loew’s Germany?
Whichever the team, expect some red hot soccer from the Chilean players.
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