Brazil forward Neymar is set to miss the rest of the World Cup, after being forced out of his side’s 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia on Friday with a back injury.
A broken vertebra in the 22-year-old’s spine means he will sit out of Tuesday’s semi-final clash with Germany and a prospective final, should La Selecao advance.
Neymar left the pitch in a stretcher distraught, after Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back in a challenge that went unpunished.
The five-time champions doctor Rodrigo Lasmar expects the player’s recovery period to take at least a few weeks, but adds the injury requires “no surgery”.
“Unfortunately, he’s not going to be able to play,” Lasmar told Brazil’s SportTV. “He is very, very sad.
“It’s not serious in the sense that it doesn’t need surgery, but he’ll need to immobilize it to recover.”
Neymar has featured in all five of the host nations’ matches at the 2014 Fifa World Cup and leads their goal chart with four strikes.
He recovered from thigh and knee injuries from their previous last-16 win over Chile to play against Colombia.
Thiago Silva struck and early opener before David Luiz compounded their South American rivals’ woes eight minutes after the hour mark. James Rodriguez scored an 80th minute penalty to halve Colombia’s deficit.
Captain Silva will also miss Brazil’s next game through suspension after picking up a second booking of the tournament against Colombia.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men line up against Germany in Belo Horizonte. A win would have them return to the Maracana, venue of Sunday, July 13th final.