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‘Evil’ lunge on Neymar goes unpunished by Fifa

Neymar: Broken vertebra. Picture: AP

Neymar: Broken vertebra. Picture: AP

  • by JULIEN LINDEN
 

COLOMBIA defender Juan Camilo Zuniga will not be punished for the tackle on Neymar that left the Brazil striker with a broken bone in his back and forced him out of the rest of the World Cup.

After investigating the incident from Friday’s quarter-final, won 2-1 by Brazil, Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee ruled that no retrospective action could be taken.

In a statement, football’s world governing body said their own rules prevented them reopening the case because the incident had already been dealt with by the referee on the pitch.

Fifa also said it could not consider Brazil’s appeal against captain Thiago Silva’s yellow card that will keep him out of tonight’s World Cup semi-final against Germany. The governing body said there was “no legal basis” to grant such a request.

The defender was booked against Colombia for blocking keeper David Ospina as he was taking a kick, and as it was his second of the tournament, he was automatically be suspended.

Fifa, in a break from its standard formal statements, expressed its disappointment that Neymar – one of the host nation’s most popular and charismatic players – had been ruled out of the World Cup because of the injury. But Fifa said the extent of the injury and the profile of the player involved could not have any bearing on their disciplinary rules. “We wish Neymar a prompt and complete recovery as we wish the same for all players who have sadly been ruled out of the World Cup through injury,” the statement said.

Neymar’s premature exit from the World Cup has provoked a mixture of shock and anger in the samba nation. Brazilian television stations interrupted their normal programming on the weekend to broadcast live shots of Neymar leaving the team’s training base on a helicopter while Brazil President Dilma Rousseff sent the injured player a letter. Neymar was carried off the field in tears, and later diagnosed with a fractured vertebra following Zuniga’s tackle.

The player was not booked over the incident and sent a personal note to Neymar explaining that it was an accident but not everyone agreed with his version of events with former Brazil striker Ronaldo calling it an “evil” tackle.

Meanwhile, Neymar and the Brazilian football confederation denied media reports that the striker could undergo special treatment on his fractured vertebra to try to play in the World Cup final if the tournament hosts beat Germany.

The statements came after the Brazilian media quoted doctors from the Brazilian club Santos, Neymar’s former team, as saying there was a chance the striker could return for Sunday’s final with alternative treatments and painkiller injections. The confederation said in its statement that the “the prognosis is excellent” for Neymar, but only if the injury is given the proper amount of time to heal. “Rushed measures put in risk his future life as an athlete,” the statement said.

Brazil team doctor Jose Luiz Runco said Neymar is expected to be sidelined for about 45 days. He has returned home from the team’s training camp to recover. “Let’s not create an illusion to the Brazilian people,” Runco told Globo TV. “There isn’t the smallest possibility for Neymar to play on 13 July if Brazil reach the final.”

 

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