Brazil expect neutral Webb against Chile

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Brazil have brushed off claims in the Chilean media that Rotherham referee Howard Webb might favour the hosts in the all-south American showdown in Belo Horizonte today.

Yorkshire official Webb was also the man in charge when Brazil beat Chile 3-0 at the same stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

There was no controversy in that game – in fact the only criticism of Webb was that he could have awarded Brazil a penalty – but nonetheless media outlets in Chile fear the hosts will get an easy ride.

That feeling has been doing the rounds since the opening match of the tournament against Brazil when Brazil were awarded a penalty by Japanese official Yuichi Nishimura for what was a blatant dive by Fred.

Brazil team spokesman Rodrigo Paiva said any such suggestions were disrespectful and “immature”.

Paiva told the pre-match news conference: “This kind of pressure I think is ridiculous.

“Brazil doesn’t need a referee to win the match and you should respect a little bit more the Brazilian national team and the Brazilian people.”

Brazil defender David Luiz is nursing a slight back problem suffered in training but is expected to be fit. Manchester City’s Fernandinho is pushing for a starting role in midfield, although Luiz Felipe Scolari said earlier in the week that he has “blind faith” in Paulinho.

Chile defender Gary Medel has an ankle injury but, if fit, will keep his place in a full-strength side.

Uruguay are without the banned Luis Suarez for their date with Colombia in Rio to complete an all-South American line-up on the first day of the knockout phase.

Tomorrow, Holland face Mexico (5pm) and Costa Rica play Greece (9pm).