Brazil forward Neymar could miss the World Cup semi-final against Germany after taking a hit to the back in the closing stages of the 2-1 World Cup quarter-final win over Colombia on Friday and being taken to hospital for further checks.
“We lost Neymar on that play, and based on what I’ve seen, I think it’s going to be tough for him to play,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told reporters.
“He was kneed in his lower back and he was crying out in pain and I can guarantee it won’t be easy for him to recover based on what the doctor told us, and the pain he is in and as it is lower back. I don’t know. Let’s hope everything goes well,” said the coach.
Neymar, who has scored four goals in the tournament to lead Brazil’s attack, went down after a challenge by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga in the 88th minute and looked to be in pain.
He had to be carried off on a stretcher and was replaced by defender Henrique for the final minutes of the game.
“It’s a concern. But it’s early. We need to do tests to have a better diagnosis,” said Rodrigo Lasmar, a Brazil team doctor.
“He went to hospital to get some tests, but he should be back with us later to return to Granja Comary (team base) with the rest of the team tonight.”
Brazil fans had also gathered outside the Fortaleza hospital, shouting “Forca Neymar” (be strong Neymar) as the player was being wheeled into the building.
Brazil will face Germany in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday without captain Thiago Silva who was booked on Friday and misses the game through suspension.
Neymar also received support from the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, who tweeted: “Like all Brazil I am one of those cheering from the sidelines for our star Neymar to get better.”