Their biggest star, FC Barcelona's Neymar, is officially out of the tournament after suffering a broken vertebrae in his spine. The injury happened in the 86th minute of the match, when Neymar suffered a knee to the back, delivered by Colombia's Zuñiga. 'Ney' was immediately subbed off and taken to a hospital in Fortaleza, where he received medical attention and went through a CT scan and a MRI.
Brazil's doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, explained the injury: "The CT showed a fractured transverse process at the level of the third lumbar vertebra. That means it's a fracture at the spinal region. It's not a serious fracture that requires surgery, but it limits movements. He will be in pain for a few days, and he's wearing a lumbar belt to manage pain. Unfortunately, he won't be able to play. The first week is the most painful and critical one, so he can't play the last two matches. But long term, we are positive that the recovery will go well. This is a fracture that evolves quickly, so we hope he's completely healed soon."
Dr. Lasmar also said that Neymar was visibly upset, sad and disappointed. He was crying the whole time, but he didn't say anything.
Neymar is expected to be out of action for six weeks, although that's not conclusive. The doctors are waiting for the MRI results, along with other tests that will show the complete extension of Neymar's injury, so they can set a more specific timetable for his return.
The news broke as Neymar's teammates were giving their final interviews before going to the bus, and emotion and sadness took over.
"Now that we know he's really out, it's a gigantic sadness", Brazil's goalkeeper Júlio César said. "We know how much Ney wanted to shine at this World Cup, and how happy he was to make the people happy. It's surprising and sad, it's really hard to say anything, because he's a spectacular kid. I think if Neymar had anything to say to us right now, he would say 'Guys, keep going, and I'm waiting for you to celebrate on July 13th.' He's a spectacular kid, who teaches us a lot of things everyday. It's tough to believe, all I want right now is to hug him", he continued.
Brazil's forward Fred was also shocked at the news. "Are you serious?", he said, before getting emotional and saying the next words along with lots of tears."It's sad because Neymar is a guy who worked so hard to get here. We see his dedication everyday and he makes us better. But we have to be ready to do this for him. We have a very talented group and we need to look at our options. But right now, all I can say to Ney is that God will make you better as soon as possible, and you can count on us to do this for you. We're together on this, more than ever. We'll make you happy".
Neymar will return to Brazil's training camp at Granja Comary, in Rio de Janeiro, and will stay with the squad until the end of the World Cup.
Brazil will face Germany on Tuesday for a place at the Final. Their best player will have to just watch it. We all feel his pain.
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