Brazil secured a dramatic penalty shootout win against Chile to reach the last eight and set up an all-South American quarter-final against Colombia.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar was the hero, making two crucial spot-kick saves, to thwart a relentless Chile side who were denied victory themselves by the woodwork with seconds to spare in extra time.
That the hosts came close to making an unexpected exit in Belo Horizonte had a nation of more than 200m people holding its breath. Cesar, who made just one appearance for Queens Park Rangers last season and went on loan to FC Toronto, redeemed an error he made which cost Brazil dear in the quarter-finals against Netherlands in 2010. He saved from Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez as Brazil went on to win a tense shootout 3-2.
Gonzalo Jara hit a post with the decisive spot-kick to prompt wild celebrations inside the Estadio Mineirao – and across the rest of this football-mad nation.
David Luiz and Marcelo had converted their efforts for Brazil, but with Willian and Hulk missing theirs, it fell to the hosts’ star striker Neymar to step up under intense pressure and calmly slot home what proved the winning kick.