Neymar out of World Cup 2014: Captain Thiago Silva challenges Brazil to 'win World Cup for injured Neymar'
Brazil's star player suffered a fractured vertebrae in the 2-1 win over Colombia
Saturday 05 July 2014
Thiago Silva wants Brazil to win the World Cup for Neymar - and he is confident they can do so.
There was a flat feeling around Fortaleza late on Friday night as the extent of Neymar's injury began to filter through to the locals.
The Brazilian Football Confederation had confirmed Neymar would miss the rest of the World Cup because of a fractured veterbra he suffered after being kneed in the back by Juan Zuniga.
Their best player may be out of the World Cup, but Silva insists Brazil's dreams of lifting the trophy on home soil for the first time remain very much alive.
The Brazil captain was saddened to hear of Neymar's injury, but after the match he was buoyant about his team's chances of lifting the trophy on July 13 in the Maracana.
"We have proposed to win the World Cup for Neymar because of the injury he suffered," the Paris Saint-German defender said.
"This moment could mark the start of a revolution for us.
"He hopes and expects a lot from this group, and this could unite us, it could give us more determination to win."
Neymar may be 22-years-old but he has dragged Brazil through this tournament so far.
The Barcelona forward's pace, trickery and eye for goal make him a nightmare to defend against.
Read more: Can Brazil still win the World Cup without Neymar?
Neymar ruled out of World Cup
Fans gather outside hospital to support Neymar
The former Santos man is Brazil's top scorer here, with four goals, and he also scored the crucial penalty to knock Chile out in the previous round.
Bernard, a diminutive 21-year-old from Shakhtar Donetsk, and Chelsea's Willian, who played for the Ukrainians until last summer, are not in the same class as Neymar, but Silva is sure they could do a good job if called upon to face Germany in the semi-finals.
"Neymar is very important for us. We depend a lot on him and he makes the difference in our group," said Silva, who put Brazil ahead with an early strike.
"But in the place of Neymar, we can play either Willian or Bernard, who have similar characteristics.
"This is the moment to show the strength of the squad."
Zuniga apologised to Neymar after the final whistle and Silva, who used to play for AC Milan, insisted the Napoli defender did not mean to harm the forward.
"Zuniga does not have any nastiness in him. I know him from Serie A," he said Silva.
"What he did, I think, was rash. I still have not seen the pictures, but I know that in these circumstances it was difficult to get the ball off Neymar.
"He was dominating. I am a centre-back, and I know that in situations like this one should be looked at more thoroughly."
Juan Camilo Zuniga challenges Neymar The whole game as an ill-disciplined affair. Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo failed to maintain discipline in a full-blooded encounter at the Estadio Castelao.
A total of 54 fouls were committed, one of which came when Silva pulled back Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.
That foul meant the 29-year-old will miss Tuesday's semi-final against Germany in Belo Horizonte.
Colombia, meanwhile, head home wondering what might have been.
Jose Pekerman's side looked down and out when David Luiz scored a stunning free-kick to put Brazil 2-0 up, but James Rodriguez converted an 80th minute penalty to cue a nervous finale.
Rodriguez has been just as key to Colombia as Neymar has been to Brazil at this tournament.
The 22-year-old Monaco forward has scored six goals at his first World Cup, but that mattered little to him after Friday's defeat.
"We are really sad because we wanted to progress, we wanted to make history tonight," Rodriguez said.
"This is a hungry team and that is what hurts us most - that we knew we could have progressed."
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