The unthinkable for Brazil has happened - Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup. Neymar took a knee to the back during Brazil’s quarter-final defeat of Colombia, and will take no further part after suffering a fractured vertebra.
Devastation for Brazil
While Brazil initially rejoiced having overcome a spirited Colombian side to reach a first semi-final since 2002 - the last time they won the World Cup - thoughts and fears soon turned to the well-being of their most prized asset.
Neymar left the pitch in serious pain, stretchered off in the closing stages after being clattered by Juan Zuniga, but the hope was the 22-year-old was simply exhausted after the rigours of an intense encounter.
However, such optimism was extinguished shortly after the final whistle, with the Brazil team doctor afforded the unenviable task of reporting the news that Neymar’s World Cup was officially over a week before the tournament’s completion.
"This news is not easy but he will not be available for the rest of the World Cup," said Rodrigo Lasmar. "Neymar has a broken vertebra. He will be out for four to six weeks."
There have since been videos to emerge showing Neymar’s arrival at a hospital in Fortazela, and the Barcelona forward was clearly distraught, already well aware of the severity of the situation.
His face covered in despair, Neymar is wheeled into the hospital with drip protruding from his arm; an image that would have reduced numerous fans to tears across this host nation.