FORTALEZA — Brazil forward Neymar has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup after suffering a broken vertebra in his side's win against Colombia.
Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed the news to Brazilian TV after the Barcelona star underwent further tests in a Fortaleza hospital.
Neymar was caught from behind by a reckless Juan Zuniga challenge and had to be carried off on a stretcher towards the end of the Selecao's 2-1 win in Fortaleza.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted after the match that the attacker was unlikely to suit up the game in Belo Horizonte.
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"I don't think Neymar will be able to play," in the semifinal, he said. "He went to the clinic here in the stadium. He was kneed on his lower back and he was crying out in pain, and I can guarantee that it won’t be easy for him to recover, based on what the doctor told us and the pain he’s in. And as it’s lower back, I don’t know."
Scolari bore no grudges against Zuniga and insisted Brazil would move forward with confidence irrespective of whether Neymar was fit or not.
"Everyone knows that Neymar was going to be hunted. We knew this was the case," Scolari added just after the match. "I don't think the foul was on purpose, I think he came in to stop the ball. There's no point in thinking about it, the game is over. Let's hope it is nothing serious and he can play with us.
"But if anything has to change, we’ll do that and we’ll play a great game. If we beat Germany, I don’t know if he can play in the final. He is young, he takes care of himself and he’ll do everything he can to recover. Let’s wait until after the tests. After 48 hours of treatment he might still be in the next match.”
Scolari will now be without arguably his two most important players for the meeting with Joachim Low's Germany with captain Thiago Silva suspended after collecting a needless yellow card against Colombia.