Updates from Saturday, July 5
Reuters (via Yahoo Sports) provide comments from Neymar, who speaks about his injury, future and teammates:
My dream isn't over. It was interrupted by a play but it continues," Neymar, who has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a fractured vertebra, said in a video released by the Brazilian Soccer Federation on Saturday.
"I'm certain that my team mates will do everything possible so that my dream, which is to be a champion, comes true.
"My dream was also to play in a World Cup final but this time it didn't work out," the 22-year-old said, his voice cracking with emotion.
"But God willing, they're going to win this, they're going to be champions, and I'm going to be by their side, with them. And all us Brazilians are going to be celebrating.
Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph reports that FIFA is investigating the incident in which Neymar was injured:
Moments after a thrilling 2-1 victory over Colombia in the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil fans are suffering the agony of seeing their top player pick up a serious injury.
Neymar was kneed in the back during the final minutes of the match and was immediately stretchered off the pitch. As Fox Soccer Trax reported, he was taken to the hospital right away:
UPDATE: Brazilian media reporting Neymar taken to hospital and "it does not look good."— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) July 4, 2014
Unfortunately, it was the worst-case scenario for Neymar. BBC's Guy Mowbray reports that a fractured vertebra will keep him out of the rest of the competition:
Brazil team doctor has just announced that Neymar's World Cup is over. Fractured 3rd vertebrae, "needs to be immobilised...a few weeks"— Guy Mowbray (@Guymowbray) July 4, 2014
Fans were heartbroken to hear the news, gathering outside the hospital where Neymar was taken, according to Alaa Abdelnaby of CBS Sports Network:
Crowds outside hospital where Neymar is being held! Brazilians take their futbol SERIOUSLY! W/o him,Brasil struggles! pic.twitter.com/zYcqrrujnW— Alaa Abdelnaby (@alaatweets) July 5, 2014
Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari knew it was a serious issue as soon as he saw his player on the ground, via Daniel Taylor of The Guardian:
Scolari says Neymar was "crying in pain . . I can guarantee it won't be easy, from what the doctors are telling us, and the pain he was in"— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) July 4, 2014
Neymar was substituted out of the match for Henrique in the 88th minute, but Brazil was able to hold on to their 2-1 lead to beat Colombia.
Brazil will face Germany in the semifinals of the World Cup, but they'll now be without their top scorer, who has four goals and an assist in the tournament. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, this leaves the squad with few other options on the roster:
The account breaks down how effective the player was even when not scoring:
Forwards like Hulk, Fred and others have the ability to finish when given a chance around the net, but Neymar was a catalyst on the attack who could make things happen from anywhere on the pitch.
With Thiago Silva also unavailable against Germany due to a suspension he earned against Colombia, Brazil will be missing a great deal of talent as well as leadership. The question is whether the rest of the team can pick up the slack and provide the host nation with its sixth World Cup title.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.