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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Neymar got injured & ruled out of the World Cup with back injury

Brazil star Neymar ruled out of the World Cup with back injury

Neymar's exit from the World Cup due to a back injury left Brazilians shocked and angered on Friday, darkening the mood after the hosts' 2-1 win over Colombia in the quarter-finals had sparked nationwide celebrations.
The loss of their star player has dented Brazil's chances of winning a record-extending sixth World Cup, and first on home soil, and left Brazilians wondering who can replace him for Tuesday's semi-final showdown with Germany.
Neymar is stretchered off after suffering the injury Neymar is stretchered off after suffering the injury Photo: AFP
"Neymar fractures vertebra and is out of the Cup," the country's three main newspapers headlined in their online editions, completely overshadowing accounts of the thrilling 2-1 victory over Colombia.
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The papers published blow-by-blow diagrams of the play in which Neymar was kneed in the back by Colombian defender Juan Zuñiga, burying coverage of the stunning free-kick by David Luiz that sealed Brazil's victory.
"This is terrible news. The worst possible news. Neymar is so important to us," said student Fabian Ruiz, 19, walking with friends down a street in Belo Horizonte, dressed in Brazil's trademark canary yellow shirts and quaffing beer from cans.
"Without him, the other players will have to fight more. It is going to be so difficult against Germany now."
A large crowd of fans wearing Brazil shirts gathered outside the hotel in Fortaleza where Neymar was taken after the match. As he was being taken in on a stretcher, they chanted: "Força Neymar," or, "Be strong Neymar."
Social media was flooded with messages about the incident, with many Brazilians calling on world soccer's governing body FIFA to punish Zuñiga in the same way Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was penalized for biting an Italian player.
One columnist went so far as to describe the challenge as a "savage attack."
"Neymar out of the Cup because of cowardice and foul play by the Colombian player," Fabricio Tavares, a Brazilian university professor, wrote on Facebook, echoing a common view heard on streets and in bars around Brazil.
Wishes for a speedy recovery poured in from all over, including Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi, Neymar's team-mate at Barcelona.
Even Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff used her Twitter account to call on Brazilians to unite around Neymar and the national team.
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona also lamented Neymar's injury, telling Venezuela-based Telesur TV network: "It concerns not only the Brazilian people but all of us who love football. It was his World Cup, in his country. He had great hopes."
At a bar in Sao Paulo, couples were still dancing late on Friday night to celebrate the win over Colombia, but the news of Neymar's injury dampened the mood.
"We were so happy but now it is sad. Very sad," said Monica Ferreira, 27, who watched the game at the bar with friends. "He is our best player. We love him because he plays so hard when he puts on the Brazil shirt."
Some fans thought Brazil's chances were over without Neymar.
"He is our best player. I don't think we can win the Cup without him," said a distraught-looking Eduardo Gomes, a 33-year-old fan, as he texted to find out more about Neymar's injury, drinking beer with his girlfriend sitting on his knee.
Other fans, more optimistic about their country's chances, said Brazil could pull it together and play even better without Neymar, suggesting the team had relied too heavily on him.
"At this point I don't really feel that we need him so badly," said Jair de Souza, a Sao Paulo doorman who heard the news on the radio. "It's shocking but the guys have handled worse pressure."
Narcisio, a waiter at a sushi restaurant in Brasilia, said there were other good players waiting in the wings.
"Today Neymar did not play well and our team still performed well," he said. "If we get past Germany, the Cup is ours."
Brazil forward Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing a vertebra in his back in the closing stages of the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia in a major blow to the host nation.
Neymar, who has scored four goals in the tournament, will miss the semi-final against Germany in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) and the final should they progress. He is expected to be out for several weeks.
Ruled out: Marcelo gestures over his injured teammate Neymar. Ruled out: Marcelo gestures over his injured teammate Neymar. Photo: Reuters
"Unfortunately, he's not going to be able to play," said Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar.
"It's not serious in the sense that it doesn't need surgery, but he'll need to immobilise it to recover," Lasmar said after the player was taken straight to hospital from the stadium in Fortaleza.
Neymar, Brazil's poster boy and one of the world's most marketable players, has been driving his country's bid for a sixth world title with his goals and creative talent.
Back injury: Neymar will play no more part in the World Cup. Back injury: Neymar will play no more part in the World Cup. Photo: AP
He went down after a challenge by Colombia's Juan Zuniga in the 88th minute and looked to be in considerable pain after what turned out to be a cracked third vertebra.
"It's a normal action, I tried to shadow him," defender Zuniga told reporters. "I was not thinking of hurting him. I was defending my country's colours."
"On the pitch I'm defending my shirt, my country, but I didn't expect him to fracture a vertebra. He is a great talent for Brazil and for the world," Zuniga said.
Brazil blow: Neymar is carried off on a stretcher. Brazil blow: Neymar is carried off on a stretcher. Photo: Getty Images
Neymar was taken straight to hospital as Brazilians across the country cheered their team's success on home soil before the news of his injury put a damper on celebrations.
"We'll miss him," teammate Oscar said. "Whoever comes in in his place has to play as part of the team and beat Germany.
"The best thing we do is play as a team and I just hope that whoever comes in plays well," the attacking midfielder said.
Brazil's Neymar collides with Colombia's Juan Cuadrado. Click for more photos

World Cup 2014: Brazil v Colombia highlights

Brazil's Neymar collides with Colombia's Juan Cuadrado. Photo: AP
  • Brazil's Neymar collides with Colombia's Juan Cuadrado.
  • Brazil's superstar Neymar was carried off with an injury.
  • Colombia's James Rodriguez scores past Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
  • James Rodriguez of Colombia scores from the spot.
  • David Luiz of Brazil celebrates scoring his team's second goal.
  • Brazil's David Luiz scores with a free-kick.
  • David Luiz of Brazil scores his team's second goal.
  • Fred of Brazil and David Ospina of Colombia react after a collision.
  • Fernandinho of Brazil tackles Fredy Guarin of Colombia.
  • Brazil's Fred holds off Colombia's Mario Yepes.
  • Colombia's Fredy Guarin defends against Brazil's Fernandinho.
  • Brazil's Thiago Silva celebrates after scoring the opening goal.
  • Brazil's Marcelo rouses the crowd.
The 22-year-old, who plays for Spanish club Barcelona, had to be carried off on a stretcher and was replaced by defender Henrique for the final minutes of the game.
Brazil captain Thiago Silva, who will also miss the semi-final after being booked, refused to blame Zuniga for the injury.
"Zuniga is not a bad guy. But at that moment he wasn't very prudent, he could have held up a bit, fouled in a different way."
He said now was the time for Brazil players to come closer together and show even more solidarity on the pitch.
"In those times it is when the team shows its strength," he said.
"Neymar is a very important guy for our group, we depend a lot on him. But potentially, this situation can mark a revolution for us, like 'let's win the Cup for Neymar'. This could help bring together the team even more," he said,
Many Brazil fans had gathered outside the Fortaleza hospital, shouting "Forca Neymar" (be strong Neymar) as the player was being wheeled into the building.
Neymar also received support from the country's president, Dilma Rousseff, who tweeted: "Like all Brazil I am one of those cheering from the sidelines for our star Neymar to get better.