Neymar out of World Cup with back injury

04:47, Jul 05 2014
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Neymar of Brazil is challenged by Juan Guillermo Cuadrado of Colombia.
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Neymar falls during the tackle.
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The agony is clear to see on his face.
Neymar
The agony is clear to see on his face.
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''It's not serious in the sense that it doesn't need surgery, but he'll need to immobilise it to recover,'' team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said.
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Brazil's Marcelo gestures over his injured teammate Neymar, who was fouled by Colombia's Camilo Zuniga.
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Neymar lies on the field after a challenge as teammate Marcelo and James Rodriguez of Colombia look on.
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A priest from the Franciscan order and a nun from the enclosed monastery of Imaculada Conceicao watch on television as Brazil's Neymar grimaces as he is carried off the pitch.
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The moment of impact with Colombia's Camilo Zuniga that left Neymar injured and unable to play for the rest of the World Cup.
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Brazil's Neymar grimaces as he is carried off the pitch after being injured.
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Many Brazil fans had gathered outside the Fortaleza hospital, shouting ''Forca Neymar'' (be strong Neymar) as the player was being wheeled into the building.
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Neymar's side will face Germany in the semifinal in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday, but the absence of Brazil's poster boy is a major blow for the hosts.
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Teammate Marcelo and Colombia's James Rodriguez check on Neymar.
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Marcelo looks on helplessly.

In a major blow to the host nation, Brazil star forward Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing a vertebra in his back in the closing stages of today's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia.

Neymar, who has scored four goals in the tournament, will miss the semifinal against Germany in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday, and the final should they progress. He was expected to be out for several weeks.

''Unfortunately, he's not going to be able to play,'' said Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar.

David Luiz
WATCHING HIS WORK: Brazil's David Luiz looks on in hope as his free-kick travels toward the net - it goes in to give the World Cup hosts a 2-1 lead in the quarterfinal against Colombia.
David Luiz
CELEBRATION: Brazil's David Luiz runs excitedly after scoring a stunning goal from a free-kick in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Julio Cesar and Carlos Bacca
TRIPPED UP: Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar was carded for this challenge on Colombia's Carlos Bacca. The ensuing spot kick went in.
Julio Cesar and Carlos Bacca
LOVES THE HULK: A Brazil fan shows his support for star player Hulk.
Julio Cesar and Carlos Bacca
GREAT GOAL: Brazil's Paulinho leaps onto his captain Thiago Silva to celebrate the opening goal of their quarterfinal against Colombia.
Julio Cesar and Carlos Bacca
IT'S IN: Brazil captain Thiago Silva nudges in a loose ball from a Neymar corner to open the scoring in their quarterfinal against Colombia.
Julio Cesar and Carlos Bacca
OUCH: Brazil star Neymar clutches his back after a challenge from Colombia's Camilo Zuniga. He was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.
Mathieu Debuchy
ON THE UP: Mathieu Debuchy heads the ball in France's quarterfinal against Germany.
Mathieu Debuchy
AERIAL TUSSLE: France's Patrice Evra fights for the ball with Germany's Thomas Mueller in the teams' World Cup quarterfinal encounter.
Mathieu Debuchy
MATCH-WINNER: Germany's Mats Hummels celebrates scoring the goal that put his team through to the World Cup semifinals.
Mathieu Debuchy
OUT OF REACH: France's Hugo Lloris was unable to save Mats Hummels strike.
Gonzalo Higuain
Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring a goal against Belgium during their quarterfinal.
Argentina v Belgium
Argentina's Lionel Messi takes a free kick during his sides quarterfinal against Belgium.
Gonzalo Higuain goal
Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina fires in the first and only goal in the eighth minute of his sides quarterfinal victory over Belgium.
Argentina v Belgium
Lionel Messi of Argentina controls the ball against Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium.
Argentina v Belgium
Belgium's Kevin Mirallas heads the ball narrowly wide as Argentina's Jose Basanta and Ezequiel Garay look on.
Argentina v Belgium
Argentina's Rodrigo Palacio watches as Belgium's Dries Mertens makes contact.
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie of the Netherlands controls the ball during his sides quarterfinal against Costa Rica.
Tim Krul
Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul celebrates after winning their penalty shootout in their quarterfinal against Costa Rica.
Netherlands v Costa Rica
The Netherlands players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout in their quarterfinals against Costa Rica.
Tim Krul
Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul makes the winning save in the penalty shootout against Costa Rica.
Keylor Navas
Keylor Navas of Costa Rica makes one of many saves against the Netherlands.
Clearance
Costa Rica's Johnny Acosta clears the ball off the line during extra time against the Netherlands.

''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.

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.

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IN PAIN: Neymar was carried off the field on a stretcher after taking a knee to the back.

''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.

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,'' team mate 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.

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 semifinal after being awarded a yellow card in the quarterfinal, 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.''

Reuters