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Neymar out of the World Cup with a fractured vertebra

Jul 4, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

Neymar AP

Neymar’s World Cup is over.

Brazil’s team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar has confirmed to the media in Brazil that Neymar has fractured a vertebrae and is out for the World Cup.

He suffered the injury late in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia when Juan Zúñiga jumped and kneed him in the back.

There is no word on a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return, and the injury very well could affect the start of Barcelona’s club season.

He will not need surgery, Lasmar confirmed.

“It is a benign fracture,” Lasmar told TV Bandeirantes. “This news is hard to take, but he will not be available at this World Cup. The fracture does not require surgery. There will be a rehab program, [he] needs comfort to ease the pain.”

According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, Neymar was taken to the hospital immediately after the win over Colombia, and was in “lots of physical and emotional distress.”

Neymar has a reputation for exaggerating pain on the pitch, but fans grew concerned when the trainer was immediately called out, and medical personnel proceeded to load him on to a stretcher taking special care to stabilize his back.

Brazilian fans crowded outside the Fortaleza hospital where he was taken, hoping for the best for their most creative player.

The match was incredibly physical, with 54 total fouls. However, Spanish referee Carlos Velasco was heavily criticized for failing to produce cautions for persistent fouling. Just four yellow cards were produced during the match, the first coming in the 64th minute after over 40 fouls had been already been committed.

There will now be added pressure on strikers Hulk and Fred to carry the attacking load, as both have been below standards so far. Hulk’s first touch proved wasteful on numerous occasions, and Fred had just one touch in the 18-yard box against Colombia, often looking a step behind the pace.

Brazil takes on Germany in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday.  They will also be missing captain Thiago Silva, who picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Colombia.

  1. ravenswhat - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:16 PM


  2. patriotsdefense - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Liverpool hasn’t finalized anything yet with the deal to send Mr Bite to Barca . Maybe they can get Sanchez still. Barca is behind the ball a little, there is no way Neymar is going to be ready in mid August. Broken Vertebra. It might take him until 2015 to feel like himself.

  3. simonkulberg - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    I sometimes have hard time believing just how trashy some of the refereeing is in this World Cup. This type of stuff is what cards are for. One dirty foul and you get a verbal warning. Second you get a yellow. Third you get a red. Here you had defenders on both sides going on their tenth dirty foul who still hadn`t been booked, or warned for that matter. The referee is the one who is really to blame for this injury because he was the one who turned it into a brawl.
    Having said that Zuniga should be banned for a lot longer than Captain Lovebite was earlier in the tournament. breaking someone`s back deliberately is worse than nibbling on a shoulder, yes?

  4. medic0nduty - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    This one is on the ref. Absolutely ridiculous that Thiago Silva running into the goalkeeper was the first yellow of the game with the kinds of challenges that were flying in. If you let a game run away like the ref did today someone is going to get hurt, and that’s what happened. I feel bad for Neymar; he didn’t deserve to have his world cup end like this.

  5. jucam1 - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    Simon your insane, the play was hard, but not intentional, the ref is to blame, all game long he let the Brazilians maul the Colombians, in the second half the Colombians came out with a vengeance to match the play of the Brazilians because the dumb ref let them get killed in the first half and they had to play the way the game was being called. The play while rough was not intentional and not even close to the insane bite that Suarez intentionally put on his play.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      I`m sorry jucam, I just don`t agree. Of course it`s unacceptable to bite someone in any situation. But the reality is that it is actually very hard to actually bite someone hard enough to cause serious injury. And Chiellini certainly was not injured in any way by the episode, which he demonstrated by running energetically after the ref to show him his shoulder.
      If it`s poor sportsmanship you want go look at Low kicking the ball away to prevent a Ghana counter attack. If it`s violent behavior you want then look at Zunaga`s “tackle”. Both are worse in each respective category to me. Of course biting is both sort of violent and pretty unsporting. but Suarez didn`t influence the match particularly and didn`t injure anyone and got slapped with a four month ban. Low and Zunaga (probably) did though.

      • medic0nduty - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        I understand where you’re coming from, Simon, but here’s where I have to disagree. While the outcome of Zuniga’s challenge on Neymar is definitely worse than Suarez biting Chiellini, the difference for me is in the intent. Zuniga did not intend to break Neymar’s back; I have no doubt he wanted the challenge to be physical, but break his back? I have a hard time believing that. Suarez knew exactly what he was doing when he bit Chiellini, and biting is far from a normal response to frustration.

        And as for how they influenced the match, Suarez’s bite was the bigger influence. Even if Neymar didn’t get injured, you knew Brazil would sit back and defend and waste away the clock. Conversely, Suarez’s bite clearly rattled the Italians and it’s no surprise that that Uruguay scored only a few minutes after the incident.

      • simonkulberg - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        I suppose so, and at least Chiellini seemed to lose his focus after the incident. But what Zunaga did was intentional, because he was not going for the ball at all. The ball was on the ground in front of Neymar, so what is the knee doing in the small of his back? Saying that he didn`t mean to break his back but that he meant to jump up and plant his knee in his back, for no other reason than to injure him to “get even”, is really silly. They are the same thing. If you don`t want to break someone`s back then you shouldn`t knee them in the back. And if you want to break someone`s back you should knee them in the back.
        Since Zunaga kneed Neymar in the back he therefore meant to break his back. It`s all perfectly logical. And to me it is far, far worse than biting someone on the shoulder. For all we know this might be the end of Neymar`s career, while Chiellini was laughing about the biting incident in photo ops the next day.

  6. jolink653 - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    How can you say that was intentional on Zuniga’s part? He was going for the ball and wound up putting his knee into Neymar’s back. Suarez is a scumbag who intentionally bit an opponent, an action which was intended to hurt Chiellini regardless of whether or not he actually was hurt by the bite. Zuniga was certainly not trying to hurt Neymar, and for you to say that this was worse than Suarez’s bite is absolutely ridiculous. The game was a physical one, one that the ref didn’t control properly because he didn’t want to pull the cards out until it was way too late

    • Kyle Bonn - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      Going for the ball, sure. Watch the replay and tell me you still think he was going for the ball. The ball was two yards to his left.

  7. jimeejohnson - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    The lack of protective equipment save shin guards leaves players open to injury when the refs let rough play become the norm. Germany has got to be the favorite, now.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      Are you advocating helmets for football players?

      • reformed2012 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:55 AM

        depends on which type of football, they already did. And with pads those vampires will not be able to attack.

  8. icebowler - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    If this is the worlds favorite game, it’s no wonder the world is a mess.

  9. psuhoffman - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    I thought the cards reset after round of 16

  10. jucam1 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    So if i slide tackle you and break your ankle in the process i should be banned because even though i slid and went for the ball your ankle was in the same area there for i meant to break your ankle? Are you even thinking before you write? Look, was it a hard foul? Absolutely, was it intentional? NO! What Saurez did was a disgrace to the game and he should be banned from the game as its his third time, and all his clown defenders in Uruguay should be ashamed. Zuñiga, came in hard, with no mal intention but with force because that is the way the ref let the game get to. It’s absolutely a disgrace that this ref let things get to that point. However this doesn’t come close to the Suaraz incident even though its awful that Neymar got injured

    • simonkulberg - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      What you are describing is totally different to Zunaga`s tackle because the ball wasn`t actually in the direction he was moving and even if it was, was one the other side of Neymar. So he basically just run Neymar down without actually going for the ball and that`s intentional to me. At best it`s reckless.

  11. heynyc61 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    I hope he recovers but it’s hard to believe when he gets hurt cuz of all the faking… Then again maybe he got hurt from excessive diving …. Hard to feel bad for this….

    • simonkulberg - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:23 AM

      He`s an actor but so far I haven`t actually seen him dive, because he makes sure he gets tackled by kicking the ball away from the defender`s challenges. Now Robben and Muller on the other hand are divers who throw themselves to the ground without being so much as touched, and that`s different.

  12. foxhunter1234 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    What a horrendously referee. And let us hope Fifa does its job and demotes the ref and suspends and fines Zuniga for his intentional and highly damaging foul.

  13. 407magic - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:20 AM

    FIFA is to blame. No cards were out early cause Brazil needs all their players vs Germany. The Rematch FIFA wants.
    The first 2 cards had to be given to Brazil for obvious reasons, silva running into the kicker then Julio Cesar’s penalty.
    Then J Rod. gets a yellow for doing what has been done to him all game. This games officiating was totally influenced by FIFA.
    The injury to neymar could of been avoided if the ref would of pulled a couple yellows or at least warnings in the first half. FIFA you know the ones you can pay off/bribe

  14. midtec2005 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    This was a foul with malicious intent, it is clear in the replay. That doesn’t mean he thought he would break Neymars back, but that hardly matters, he did it.

    The referee was pathetic, he should be sent home. Zunaga should be suspended for a long time.

  15. jucam1 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Read the great article on the times today, it totally explains what happened, how the fouls were so one sided and continually committed by the Brazilians, and how the Colombians had to start playing as rough as the Brazilians had to stay in the game because the Ref was horrible and let them get away with it. If the Ref doesn’t create that environment, this never happens. Zuñiga was just adjusting to the playing style and with zero intent went in hard to match the game style and this unfortunate incident happened. Zuñiga didn’t intend it but yet because FIFA will never take responsibility and won’t admit the ref was corrupt from the get go Zuñiga will get a harsher suspension than he deserves. Brazil was going to probably win that game anyway without Fifa doing its usual cheating, but this was horrible and created this situation

  16. ambassadorharry - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    OK, first of all, I am not a Brazilian. I read this article and then the comments and was like WHAT?! I watched the game and I don’t remember the Brazilians being as violent as everyone on this site is making them out to be. I know there were a lot of fouls called. However, from what I could see, I thought a lot of the players were just diving and pretending to be fouled as they always do – you know, a lot of footballers do. No surprise as I seen it before… What I think actually happened is that the Colombians were becoming more frustrated as time went on and they could not catch up to Brazil’s 2-0 lead. Reality of a possible elimination from the World Cup was approaching quickly. They were diving around a lot and the referee was still not buying into it – good for him. Then Colombians were becoming so frustrated that they turned to aggression and started taking their frustration on the Brazilian players. Maybe it was their strategy to weaken the Brazilians to a point where they could then catch-up. So the game became violent; however, footballers faked so much that by that point, the referee had no idea of how to differentiate whether a foul was legit or not. Even I didn’t initially believe that Neymar was truly hurt until they took him off the pitch and into the change room.

    I even went back to watched the game again because I could not see why everyone on here was accusing Brazil for being so violence. Let me tell you, mate, my opinion has not changed. I still feel like watching the game a 3rd time because I cannot believe what people are saying here. Everyone should go watch the game again!

    All I saw was an accident (maybe), because the ball was nowhere near Neymar when he was hit in the back. Maybe an accident in the sense that Juan Camilo did not mean to hurt the guy so bad; regardless, there was an intent to cause some harm I am sure.

    Reading this just looks like there are a lot of Colombians out here who either are feeling so bad for what happened that they are now trying to alleviate their guilt by putting blame on Brazil and the referee. Or maybe you are all just trying to justify bad behavior in order to influence the punishment FIFA has in stores for Juan Camilo? It’s too late to save him.

  17. jucam1 - Jul 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Well “mate” you must have watched another game than 98% of the world. FIFA came out and unequivocally cleared Zuñiga. The Times, The Guardian, and all of the press outside Brasil has stated that the Brasilians began the game playing extremely dirty, after 2/3 of the game had gone through, AND the ref allowed Brasil to play that wrestling type style, the Colombians finally broke and decided to match the crazy physicality that the ref allowed Brasil to get away with. In a way I don’t blame the Brasilians, if I am winning by insanely attacking my opponent’s best players and the ref who is supposed to be there to keep that in check is allowing me to do it, then of course I will take advantage. I don’t agree with their tactic but I understand it. All of the evidence, FIFA (as dirty as they are) and all impartial outlets agree on what we saw, the ref allowed Brasil to get away with multiple yellow card infractions, was terrible in general, which then created the environment where every contested ball became a war. That is why Neymar got hurt. I now know that this point of view is correct because FIFA gave no sanction to Zuñiga. That might be their way of trying to get the public to move on and not focus in their ref’s awful performance and how they might have been involved.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      And again, arguments ad populum are fallacious. It doesn`t matter if 99,999999% of the people on the planet agree on something; it doesn`t make it true. To quote Ghandi: “Even if you are in a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”
      You have an entirely subjective interpretation, which is fine, you`re trying to prove by making logical errors and that will never work. In fact, it`s why nobody listens to what you`re saying here. Just be honest with your subjectivity like the rest of us and we`ll be fine

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