Colombia offers Zuniga protection after death threats

The Colombian Football Federation said it will provide security measures for the defender in response to threats he received after injuring Brazil forward Neymar.

Colombia's soccer federation has pledged to protect Juan Zuniga after he was subjected to a fierce backlash from Brazil fans for injuring Neymar.

The Napoli fullback fractured one of the Selecao star's vertebra during his side's 2-1 loss to the tournament hosts during the teams' quarterfinal July 4 in Fortaleza.

Zuniga avoided further punishment, but his knee into Neymar's back has been heavily criticized and was labeled a "coward's tackle" by Brazil captain Thiago Silva.

Zuniga said it was a "normal" challenge and the Federacion Colombiana de Futbol (FCF) has now defended the 28-year-old.

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"FCF rejects all threats and insults against the player Juan Camilo Zuniga and his family," the national body said in a statement Wednesday. "It [FCF] will continue taking all actions with the appropriate security and government organisations to give the necessary guarantees to the player, for both his time in Colombia and his permanent residency in Italy."

Napoli has also come out in support of Zuniga, who faced no sanction from FIFA as the referee had already ruled on the incident.

Brazil will face the Netherlands in the third-place playoff after the host was thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals Tuesday.