He has fractured a vertebra in his back after a bad challenge near the end of the game. He was on the ground for minutes before the referee stopped the game. It became clear to Brazil players that Neymar was seriously injured.
He was stretchered off and taken to hospital where a large crowd of fans gathered to await what was bad news for the hopes of Brazil. I cannot see them winning the tournament now. Indeed, at odds of 17/10 with Bet Victor and 13/8 elsewhere, I shall be on Germany to beat them in the semi-final on Tuesday.
For my generation any Brazil side will be compared to the great one of 1970. Which is unfair. But, as I was saying months ago, Brazil were nothing special in qualification and are too dependent on one man, their talisman Neymar.
I have grown weary of hearing commentators blathering on about how “we need Brazil to stay in this competition… to be in the final.”
I don’t. And it is clear from social media that other football fans feel the same.
I’d actually love it to be an all European final between Germany and Holland. That would be a feisty affair. But Argentina may well be in the final.
People think the most exciting or talented team wins the World Cup. That is often not the case. It is usually a side that does just enough throughout the tournament to find their way into the final.
Germany and Argentina fit that billing.
I tipped Germany to win this competition back in February of 2013 at odds of 12/1. They have not played as well as I hoped but, in true German fashion, they are still there. And, in Manuel Neuer, they have one of the many sound goalkeepers we have seen in this tournament. Indeed, it is the goalies that have impressed me more than the strikers these past few weeks.
I would love to see Lionel Messi win a World Cup but I thought the Argentina side were bang out of order posing with the Falklands/Malvinas banner before their first match. Of course, the players will have had little or no say in that matter. It was a politically driven stunt. But it means I shall now be cheering on any team playing against Argentina.
It has been a very good World Cup. Neymar is a loss to Brazil and the tournament as a whole.
But, as a punter, I’m selfish.
I’m pleased he is out of the Germany game and I’m beginning to think that my outright winner bet, placed in the depths of winter some 18 months ago, may pay off in the sunshine of Brazil.