Brazil pay high price for quarter-final victory
Brazil may have sealed their place in the World Cup semi-finals, but they will have to play the rest of the tournament without their star striker Neymar who was carried off on a stretcher towards the end of their 2-1 victory over Colombia.
Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar has confirmed that Neymar suffered a fractured vertebra during the match with Colombia.
He told Brazil's SportTV: "It's not serious in the sense that it doesn't need surgery, but he'll need to immobilize it to recover.
"Unfortunately, he's not going to be able to play," said Lasmar, adding that he expected the recovery period to take at least a few weeks.
Neymar has at times seemed to carry this Brazil side single-handedly into the knockout stages of this tournament, notably slotting the final penalty to ensure they won a shootout with Chile in the previous round.
However the joy at beating Colombia on Friday evening will have been tempered by the news that their talisman is out of the tournament after being taken straight to hospital following their quarter-final clash.
Neymar was taken off, in a good deal of pain, after being kneed in the back in a challenge from Colombian defender Juan Camillo Zuniga,he was replaced by defender Henrique.
Speaking after the game, Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari was pessimistic about the striker's prospects of playing again in this World Cup: "First he went here to the clinic in the stadium and he has already been sent to a private clinic with the doctor for a series of exams," Scolari said.
"He was kneed in his lower back and he was crying out in pain. We don't have an idea [on the severity] but I can guarantee it won't be easy for him to recover, won't be easy based on what the doctor told us and the pain he is in.
"As it is the lower back, I don't know. I don't know. Let's hope everything goes okay."
Scolari was then asked whether he thought the injury may rule Neymar out of the final should they navigate their way past Germany.
"I think for the match against Germany, it will be very difficult for Neymar to play based on my conversation with the doctor," the Selecao coach said.
Scolari's fears proved to be correct, with Neymar now ruled out for the rest of the World Cup.
With Brazil's attack already looking very short on quality, Fred and Hulk in particular failing to inspire much belief in their abilities to win games, the blow of losing Neymar leaves the hosts' chances of winning the tournament in tatters.
Brazil will face Germany in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday also without captain Thiago Silva who was booked on Friday and misses the game through suspension.