Brazilian hero: Julio Cesar. Photo: AP
Belo Horizonte: It's not generally a good sign when your goalkeeper starts crying before a penalty shootout, but for Brazil, things worked out fine. But only just.
Julio Cesar has widely-been regarded as perhaps the weakest link it what it must be said is, Neymar apart, a non vintage Brazilian side.
But the Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper (not that he has been sighted at Loftus Road much recently) rose to the occasion and held his nerve when it mattered most - in the penalty shootout. The tears of apprehension turned into tears of joy and relief in the end.
Struggling in attack: Fred has failed to impress for Brazil. Photo: AP
Not that he had to do much at the crucial moment - Chile's final penalty. If fact had Gonzalo Jara's spot kick not cannoned off the woodwork and bounced to safety Cesar would have been beaten comprehensively.
But it didn't, and by such fine margins is history made - for Brazil - and the stuff of mythic loss (Chile) constructed.
Brazil had more shots, and Claudio Bravo in the Chilean goal was the busier goalkeeper in a pulsating round of 16 match that stretched the drama out over two hours and was still balanced on a knife's edge until the final seconds.
World Cup 2014: Brazil v Chile highlights
Members of the team comfort Brazil's Neymar. Photo: AP
But the Selecato were far from impressive in putting away the dogged, well organised and talented Chileans who, with an ounce of luck (they had also hit the bar in the dying seconds of extra time ) might now be preparing themselves for a quarter-final in Fortaleza against Colombia next Friday night (Saturday morning AEST).
In fact, if Brazil is to go any further than the last eight - and not plunge this football and party crazy nation into a premature gloom - then they will have to play much better than they did here.
At one point Australia star Tim Cahill tweeted that he had never seen a Brazilian team play so many long balls, and he is right.
This is a side lacking in the creative, incisive passing and vision that so many of the great Brazilian teams have produced in the past, moves that open up defences and provide chances for a lethal striker.
Neymar's goals - four in the first three matches - disguised their lack of star quality, and when he went quiet in the second half in this game there was no-one there to step up and take responsibility in front of goal.
Fred, the big centre forward who has been Luis Felipe Scolari's first-choice target man, simply has not got warm in this tournament and rarely looks a goal threat.
The man who replaced him, the equally big and gangly Jo, is another non threatening front man. All legs and awkwardness, he got into some decent positions but could not find a finishing touch.
Hulk was another who could not deliver when it mattered, firing in a number of shots which failed to beat the excellent Bravo.
His biggest moment came when he did have the ball in the back of the net, but English referee Howard Webb disallowed it for handball when he controlled the cross from Marcello that provided the opportunity.
It was, as Cahill observed, odd to see Brazil lump it long so often, and for the moves to break down as they did. At the back the pairing of David Luiz and Thiago Silva often looked wobbly but, the goal they conceded aside - a chance to Chile provided by an error by Hulk - they held the shift shaping Chileans and their mobile attack which switched positions fequently at bay.
The question remains, however: are they good enough to win this World Cup, despite fervent home support, without a good goalscorer to play with and off Neymar.
In four games they have beaten Croatia (a shade luckily), hammered the hopeless Cameroon (who doesn't) and then failed to see off Mexico or Chile, both of whom finished level at the end of the match.
Give Brazil the credit for having the mental strength to play under such enormous pressure and keep their nerve in the shoot out. They might not be a star team but they do have plenty of ticker. But that is rarely enough on its own.
They will have to step up several gears on Friday when they face the James Rodriguez inspired Colombia, who saw off a toothless (without the banned biter Luis Suarez) Uruguay with little bother in the other round of 16 match.
The Colombians have been massively impressive in winning all four of their games, scoring 11 goals in the process and conceding only two.
They will not be bothered by the weather, the conditions or the crowds: if Brazil can see them off, which has to be questionable, then they will have taken a big step towards winning his title. But its a big if. Huge, in fact.....