Brazil won 2-0 over South American rival Colombia on Friday, advancing to the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time since winning it in 2002. However, the party was put on hold across the host nation as everyone bore witness to star forward Neymar go down late in the win.
What was at first thought to be something minor by some turned out to be one of the worst pieces of news a soccer player or athlete could get — Neymar has broken vertebrae in his back, something confirmed by the Brazilian team doctors.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 4, 2014
Neymar was stretchered off the field and immediately taken up the tunnel after a nasty collision that ended with him taking a knee to the back. Cameras immediately showed him in immense pain, something we’ve seen from players not in actual pain before, and led some to think he was faking the injury.
Neymar is faking he's just tired
— DR▲GON FOOT HOE (@MuneraIsFab) July 4, 2014
First word after seeing him taken off the field was that Neymar was taken immediately to a local hospital, but Brazilian doctors were mum on the exact reason at first. Now we clearly know the severity of his injury, and his future in the game is up in the air.
It also brings up a lot of issues people have with soccer players diving. When actual injuries happen it’s hard for the general public to believe someone is really injured.
The problem with faking dives is that when there is a real incident, its hard for football fans to deduct if its serious or not #Neymar
— Danielle (@GirlMufc) July 4, 2014
Perhaps this bit of news will be a wake up call to soccer players the world over to curb their diving…then again it’s been a scourge on the game for two decades and nothing seems to change no matter the “emphasis” leagues put on stamping out the practice.
On the pitch, the biggest concern is how this affects Brazil’s chances for the World Cup. One thing is for sure; Neymar missing the rest of the World Cup is a serious blow to the Brazilian hopes of moving forward in this tournament. He’s been the most lethal player for Brazil’s attack:
5 – Neymar (4 goals, 1 assist) is the first Brazilian player to be involved in 5+ goals in one World Cup since 2002. Special.
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 4, 2014
Fred, Hulk and Jo haven’t exactly lit the world on fire in attack, but they will be counted on for a much bigger role against Germany in the semifinal. Brazilian hopes of lifting the World Cup rest on finding another creative attacking player, which is on short supply on this roster.