Julio Cesar

QPR recall Julio Cesar from Toronto FC

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Julio Cesar has almost certainly played his last game for Toronto FC. Queens Park Rangers have recalled the Brazilian goalkeeper from his loan spell, in preparation for the beginning of the Premier League season.

The 34-year-old moved to Toronto last February, after making just one appearance for QPR last season. Many doubted Luiz Felipe Scolari’s decision to use him as the starting goalkeeper for Brazil during the World Cup, but Julio Cesar proved those doubters wrong. He may not have impressed in the same manner as Keylor Navas or Memo Ochoa, but he proved a solid choice for his country.

Indeed, he was the hero in Brazil’s penalty shootout against Chile, saving the first two spot-kicks sent his way. That went a long way toward righting the wrongs of South Africa 2010, when Julio Cesar failed to deal with a long ball into the area, leading to defeat against Netherlands.

All this after slipping down to third-choice for Harry Redknapp, then making just six appearances for Toronto. Now, upon their return to the Premier League, QPR want to give Julio Cesar a chance once more. However, England international Rob Green — Rednapp’s first choice ‘keeper last season — just signed a two-year extension. It could very well mean that Julio Cesar will have few chances to play the hero this season.

MLS Insider: Júlio César starring for Brazil, Toronto FC

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htflBeb-Y0U]

In case you hadn’t heard, one of Brazil’s stars during today’s shootout victory over Chile has a Major League Soccer connection, and while it’s a thin one, it’s still one that highlights the league’s growing influence on the world’s game. After all, if you had said in 2010 that MLS would have a registered player serving with the Brazilian national team at the World Cup, your optimism would have been met with a severe eye roll.

Yet here we are, in 2014, and thanks to the league’s prodigious ascent, MLS has had an influence on the Seleçao. Yeah, the trumpets have been incessant, but the song is still true. Goalkeeper Júlio César’s short time with Toronto FC did help the Brazilian prepare for this summer’s finals.

As the latest edition of MLS Insider notes, it’s another way the league is making an impact on the global scene. Check out the show, above.

Brazil sinks Chile on penalties, through to the next round

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It took well over 120 minutes, but we finally know who’s going through to the quarter-finals. And yes, it’s the hosts. Brazil kept Chile to a 1-1 draw throughout the second half and on through to extra time. Then came the penalties. Then came Brazil’s win.

The first half went by so quickly, it was hard to believe only 45 minutes had passed. Chile put their high pressing on display, although they took a more direct approach than in previous matches. Brazil were more content to sit back, but as always, Neymar was constantly ready with a threat. It made for quite a thrilling first half.

It took less than 20 minutes for the first goal to sink into the back of the net. It looked for all the world as though it had gone in off the leg of Chile defender Gonzalo Jara, but David Luiz celebrated with gusto, and the goal was ultimately credited to him. Either way, though, the goal certainly showcased Chile’s main weakness: their inability to defend on set pieces.

Chile found their equalizer through a lovely set-piece routine…from Brazil. Brazil won a throw-in near goal, but managed to surrender possession, leaving the Brazil defense slightly confounded. The ball eventually found its way to Alexis Sánchez, who wasted no time in driving a low shot to the far corner. Júlio César dove, but couldn’t quite reach the ball before it flew into the net.

It looked like Brazil would be back in front early in the second half, when a strike from Hulk flew past Claudio Bravo. However, Howard Webb called the goal back, booking the forward for a handball. Hulk appeared to control the ball with his upper arm, although whether it was deliberate enough to deserve a yellow was debatable.

The play then slowed considerably, although both sides certainly had their chances. Júlio César was forced into action around the 65th minute, after Mauricio Isla pulled back for Charles Aránguiz. The Toronto FC keeper was fast enough to send the ball wide, however.

Brazil came closest with a combination between Hulk and substitute Jô, on for Fred. Hulk sent in a cross, Eugenio Mena stuck out his leg, but couldn’t manage to connect with the ball. Instead Jô gave it a try, and end up putting his shot out of play. Hulk then had his own terrific chance, but his low drive was pushed away by Bravo.

With both sides even at 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation time, we got treated to an additional 30 minutes, split into two 15 minute halves.

Almost immediately, Webb put himself in the hot seat again, letting a Jô kick on Claudio Bravo – one eerily reminiscent of the unwhistled Nigel de Jong kung fu kick on Xabi Alonso, also overseen by Webb – pass with nary a blink.

But with tired legs winning out, very little else  happened in the extra thirty minutes…until the 120th, that is. That’s when Mauricio Pinilla, on for Vidal, rattled the crossbar, giving the entire nation of Brazil heart attacks.

Then came the penalties. And there went Chile’s chance – with their very first kick. Pinilla sent his kick low, making it rather easy to save. While Willian completely missed his, Alexis Sánchez went low as well, and Júlio César saved again. That paved the way for Brazil to win: Hulk may have had his saved by Bravo, but after Neymar sunk his shot, Gonzalo Jara hit the post, ending the dream for Chile.

LINEUPS

Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho (Ramires 73), Oscar (Willian 105); Neymar, Hulk, Fred (Jô 64)

Goals: David Luiz 18′

Chile: Bravo; Silva, Medel (Rojas 108), Jara; Isla, Aranguiz, Diaz, Mena; Vidal (Pinilla 87); Sánchez, Vargas (Gutierrez 57)

Goals: Alexis Sánchez 32′

Brazil 1-1 Chile: we’re headed into extra time!

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It’s our first match of the knockout stages, and we’ve already got our first glimpse of added extra time! Yes, Brazil and Chile have played out a draw through the relegation 90 minutes, which means we’re on for 30 more minutes of fun.

The first half was full of excitement. Brazil scored after less than twenty minutes. It looked as though Gonzalo Jara stuck the ball in the back of his own net, but David Luiz celebrated getting the final touch, and in the end, the goal was awarded to the Brazilian.

Chile came storming back, however, and equalized shortly after the 30-minute mark. Brazil managed to mess up a throw-in mere yards from their own goal, allowing Chile to regain possession. Brazil foolishly allowed the ball to fall to Alexis Sánchez, who of course took advantage. Júlio César dove to his right, but it was too late to stop the equalizer from finding the back of the net.

Of course, the match slowed down somewhat during the second half. Hulk had the ball in the net, but Howard Webb called it back for a handball, awarding a yellow in the process. While both sides had their chances, neither were able to convert.

Which is fantastic for the neutrals. In order to avoid penalties, both sides will need to press forward, and both sides will attempt to capitalize on the gaps left behind.

Remember, there’s no golden goal in added extra time, so the additional thirty minutes (divided into two halves) will be played out no matter what. Should there be no deciding goal, the winner will be determined through a penalty shootout, based on whichever side scores more of their allotted five spot-kicks.

At halftime: All even in a thriller between Brazil and Chile — FOLLOW LIVE

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Even before the match started, we knew this was going to be a special one, as both teams – and sets of fans – absolutely belted out their respective anthems, filling the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte with plenty of noise. Add to that two teams bent on attack, and with marked weaknesses in defense, and it’s no wonder the first 45 minutes flew by.

FOLLOW LIVE: Soccerly’s real-time match center

Goals

18′: It looked as though own goal struck once more, knocking in his fourth goal of the competition. It seemed Gonzalo Jara put Brazil in front in a manner that very well could have been predicted. Neymar sent in the corner, Thiago Silva got his head on it, and David Luiz celebrated like he put it in the net. Replays seemed to show the ball came off the Chile defender, but FIFA credited it to David Luiz.

32′: Chile tie it up! A short set of passes stemming from a failed throw-in by Brazil confounds the defenders, eventually resulting in a loose ball landing at the feet of Alexis Sánchez, waiting in the middle. His low shot is too quick for Júlio César, who cant get down enough to stop it from finding the back of the net.

Other key moments

6′: Marcelo has the first shot of the game, and unlike against Croatia, it’s toward Claudio Bravo’s net. It’s wide, though.

7′: Neymar gets treated with the magic spray, perhaps in an attempt to slow down what’s already been an intense game.

8′: Bravo saves on Hulk.

13′: Hulk appeals for a penalty after receiving an elbow in his back, but Howard Webb just shakes his head.

17′: Eugenio Mena gets a yellow, will miss the next match should Chile progress.

18′: which it doesn’t look like they’re going to do. Goal for Brazil.

32′: Or might Chile go through? Alexis Sánchez puts in the equalizer. 1-1.

36′: Brazil come agonizingly close to taking the lead once more, but Neymar’s header is deflected off Chile defender Silva. The resulting corner results in chaos, but somehow Brazil can’t knock it in.

39′: Neymar gets into a dangerous position, ends up going to ground. Fred picks up the slack, only to send his effort well high. He’s rocking an amazing mustache, however.

40′: Francisco Silva receives a yellow, will miss the next match if Chile progress. And with the way he’s playing, that may actually be to Chile’s benefit.

42′: Arturo Vidal easily zips past the Brazilian defense, but his effort is wide. Brazil’s counter gives Dani Alves a perfect opportunity, but Bravo is able to dig it out from under the bar.

45′: Chile very nearly take a lead going into the break, but this time the Brazil defense are there, smothering Charles Aránguiz to knock out for a corner.

LINEUPS

Brazil: Júlio César, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho, Oscar; Neymar, Hulk, Fred.

Chile: Bravo; Silva, Medel, Jara; Isla, Aranguiz, Diaz, Mena; Vidal; Sánchez, Vargas.

Question for the second half

Who will win?
Um…yeah. These ones actually need a winner. Of course, if the game is tied after 90 minutes, we’ll have 30 more minutes in which the deadlock could be broken. And with the way this match is being played, probably no one is going to root against that possibility Except, of course, supporters of Brazil or Chile. They’re the ones that are going to be terrified should this go to penalties.

With the way both defenses are performing, and the fierce attack of both sides, this really could go either way.