RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Neymar pointed his right index finger in the air and then formed the shape of a heart with his thumbs and fingers loftily raised above his head.
The 22-year-old striker had just slotted the winning penalty as Brazil beat Chile 3-2 in a dramatic shootout Saturday after the score was locked 1-1 at the end of extra time in the first of the World Cup's eight second-round matches.
As Chile's last penalty hit the post, it seemed as though the population of Brazil breathed a collective sigh of relief that its beloved team was still in the World Cup.
It was a heart-stopper for Brazil, which has spent billions to host football's marquee tournament, but it was a heartbreaker for Chile, which created plenty of chances to force an upset win — none closer than Mauricio Pinilla's powerful shot that hit the crossbar in the last moments of extra time. David Luiz for Brazil and Alexis Sanchez for Chile scored first half goals.
Shops were closed and usually busy roads were quiet as the country of almost 200 million collectively urged their revered Selacao to victory and ever closer to a sixth World Cup title — a trophy they desperately want to collect on home soil.