Brazil’s star man Neymar has sustained a back injury in the 2-1 win over Colombia that sees his tournament come to an abrupt end.
Neymar left the field on a stretcher in tears after being kneed in the back by Juan Zuniga.
He fractured a vertebrae in his spine in a challenge that went unpunished by the referee.
A record total of 54 fouls were committed during the game as the key men for both sides were hunted throughout the game. Colombia’s James Rodriguez was also cynically fouled throughout the game in an attempt to quell Colombia’s main attacking threat.
The scale of Neymar’s importance cannot be underestimated at this World Cup; the entire population of Brazil has pinned their hopes on the 22-year-old forward. If you see someone wearing a Brazil jersey, chances are they’ve got Neymar printed on the back.
Brazil now face a strong German side in the semi-finals without the man who has carried the team through this far. Brazil’s World Cup dreams have definitely suffered a set back – and news of Neymar’s absence from the upcoming fixture will only boost morale in the German dressing room.
Thiago Silva also suffers a suspension from the semi-final, leaving an irreplaceable gap at the back for Brazil which you can only see being exploited by Germany. With weak links at the back Brazil’s hopes may pin on simply outscoring Germany, in a game which may be flooded with goals.
However, with goals from Thiago Silva and a David Luiz wonder strike seeing them through against Colombia, Brazil’s forwards need to step up.
A misfiring Fred has had a dreadful tournament whilst Hulk is yet to show any consistency. Oscar has drifted in and out of games and Willian, who is sure to replace the missing Neymar, is severely lacking game time.
The dream, for now, just about lives on, but the concern for the hosts increases by the day.