Brazil plot Neymar's return for World Cup final

SAM WILSON
Last updated 15:55 07/07/2014
Neymar
Reuters

DOWN AND OUT: Neymar suffered a fracture to his third lumbar vertebra after a robust tackle by Colombia's Juan Zuniga.

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World Cup hosts Brazil are considering giving injured playmaker Neymar painkillers so he can play in next week's final should they get past Germany on Wednesday, according to local media reports.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has also submitted evidence to FIFA in an attempt to have influential captain Thiago Silva's suspension lifted so he can play in their World Cup semifinal in Belo Horizonte.

FIFA confirmed today that its disciplinary committee was "analysing material" submitted by the five-time champions in an attempt to overturn the Paris Saint-Germain defender's automatic ban for a second yellow card.

Silva was cautioned for obstructing Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina as he tried to clear the ball downfield during Brazil's 2-1 quarterfinal win over their South American rivals.

According to FIFA's disciplinary code, yellow cards can be rescinded only in "exceptional circumstances", and any ruling in the hosts' favour would leave FIFA open to accusations of bias.

But the CBF claims Silva was "unjustly shown" a yellow card and should be allowed to face the Germans on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Brazilian media reports claim that national team staff travelled to Neymar's home at the weekend to discuss his chances of playing through the pain barrier if the Selecao were to reach the final.

The Barcelona striker suffered a fracture to his third lumbar vertebra after a robust tackle by Colombia's Juan Zuniga in the dying moments of the quarterfinal and was ruled out for the rest of the World Cup.

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari revealed that the 22-year-old star cried out ''I can't feel my legs'' before he was stretchered off and flown to hospital, where the injury was confirmed.

But according to medical experts quoted in the Brazilian press, injuries to this vertebra were less problematic than to others.

However, Brazilian newspaper Globo said even pain-killing injections may not be enough to get Neymar back onto the field.

"There is no guarantee of success, the chances are small," the paper admitted.

The CBF has also called for an investigation into the "violent challenge" by Zuniga, who has since apologised for the tackle but insisted there was no malice involved.

Wednesday's match will be only the second time the two countries have met at the World Cup finals. Brazil won the only previous meeting 2-0 to claim their fifth world title in Japan.

The winners will face Argentina or the Netherlands, who meet in the other semifinal on Thursday, in the final in Rio de Janeiro next Monday.

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