Not long after celebrating another all-important win at the World Cup, Brazil was jolted by the loss of Neymar.
The tournament’s poster boy with the dyed-blonde fauxhawk fractured a vertebra in his back during Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Colombia on Friday. The injury has ruled the striker out of the rest of the competition, dealing a massive blow to the team’s chances of finally winning a World Cup at home.
Brazil advanced to the semifinals for the first time in 12 years, with the goals coming from defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz. But the jubilation was quickly tempered when Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Neymar broke his third vertebrae and is expected to be out for several weeks, ruling him out of Tuesday’s semifinal match against Germany in Belo Horizonte.
“It’s a situation that leaves us in a difficult position for the match against Germany,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “But we have great players and if I have to change something I will do it and we will be OK.”
The 22-year-old Neymar took a knee to the back late in the match against Colombia at the Arena Castelao in a collision with Juan Camilo Zuniga. The Brazilian was crying in pain as he was carried off the field.
“He will not be in condition to play, he will need a few weeks to be fit again,” said Lasmar, the team doctor. “He is very, very sad.”