Mass celebrations in Brazil over victory in a quarterfinal match against Colombia have been tainted by the announcement that young star striker Neymar will not be doing his magic for the remainder of the World Cup after suffering a broken vertebra.
“Unfortunately, he's not going to be able to play,” the team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar told Brazil's SportTV. “It's not easy news to give but the truth is he won't be available for the rest of the World Cup.”
“The tests showed a fracture near the third vertebra. It won't need surgery but he needs to be immobilised to control the pain. He cannot play, a week will not be enough,” Lasmar said.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, aka Neymar or Neymar Jr., a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona, was caught from behind by Colombian defender Juan Zuniga during a tense game in Fortaleza. The 22-year-old had to be carried on a stretcher off the pitch.
Zuñiga's challenge on Neymar. pic.twitter.com/PRI3IDUfU7
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) July 5, 2014
Zuniga after the march told reporters that the tackle was not intentional.“I never meant to hurt the player. I was on the field, playing for the shirt of my country,” he said.
The young injured forward was performing spectacularly well in the championship scoring two goals in each of the matches against Croatia and Cameron.
Brazil, which was eliminated in the quarterfinals at the last two World Cups, will on Tuesday face Germany, which beat France 1:0 earlier in the day.
"This is terrible news. The worst possible news," said Brazilian student Fabian Ruiz. "It is going to be so difficult against Germany now."
"We were so happy but now it is sad. Very sad," said Monica Ferreira, 27, who watched the game at Sao Paulo bar with friends. "He is our best player. We love him because he plays so hard when he puts on the Brazil shirt."
Besides Neymar, Brazil will be playing without its captain Silva after he picked up a second yellow card of the tournament in a foul on Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.
Even without their star forward and captain, Brazil exploded into mass party mode after a hard-fought World Cup quarterfinal match.
— 2014 World Cup (@2014WC_Brazil) July 4, 2014
As the final whistle blew millions of fans wearing yellow jerseys – who were watching the match either at home or on a massive screen at Copacabana beach – jumped and screamed with joy.