A knee in the back five minutes from time ended Barcelona player Neymar’s World Cup campaign.
The Barcelona star had to be stretchered off the field after Colombian defender Juan Camilo Zúñiga kneed him in the back. Neymar went to ground clutching his lower back in an action that promptly ended any more appearances by the Brazil talisman.
A vertebra fracture was later confirmed, signalling the end of his World Cup. Brazil, who haven’t had the best of campaigns so far, with Neymar literally carrying them on his own, will now find their semi final match the hardest of all matches played so far.
Now, FIFA is looking into the challenge made by Zúñiga that left Neymar injured and out of his home World Cup and will consider whether it should impose sanctions against the Colombian player.
However Juan Camilo Zuniga insists he did not mean to hurt Neymar in the incident, which Fifa’s disciplinary committee is looking into.
“I deeply regret the sad injury that Neymar suffered during the match between Brazil and Colombia,” he said.
“Although I feel that these situations are a normal part of the game, there was no intent to injure, malice nor negligence on my part.
“I want to reach out to Neymar, who I admire, respect and consider one of the best players in the world.
Ex Brazil player Ronaldo also had words for the incident: “I don’t think it was normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive.”
Ronaldo also believes that the colombian intended to hurt Neymar:
“We could see on TV there was intention by the Colombia player to actually cause some harm,” said Ronaldo.
“I didn’t like that very high knee so that leads me to believe it was a foul with intention to actually cause harm.
“I thought it was a highly violent and unlawful move by the Colombia player. We are fearful and sad for the loss of our player.”
And to make matters worse referee Carlos Velasco Carballo took no action for this deliberate foul on Neymar.
All we can hope for is a speedy recovery for the Barça player.