FORTALEZA, Brazil - Brazil on Friday lost superstar striker Neymar for the World Cup after he fractured a vertebrae during his side's 2-1 World Cup quarter final win over Colombia.
Colombia defender Juan Zuniga kneed the 22-year-old Neymar in a crunching tackle and the Barcelona player was stretchered off in agony in the closing minutes of the game in Forteleza.
The injury and the suspension of captain Thiago Silva for the semi-final against Germany overshadowed a sensational David Luiz goal that sealed victory in one of the most physical games seen at this World Cup.
A hospital exam "showed he suffered a fracture of the third vertebra" in his back, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar told reporters.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari fumed that Neymar has been "hunted" throughout the tournament and that no punishment was given for the tackle on him.
"I have been saying for three matches that Neymar has been hunted, but all the other countries say it is not true and it is only their players that are hunted."