Brazil's star striker Neymar fractured the vertebra in his lower back in last night's game, dampening hopes for the World Cup's host country. The injury happened in the waning minutes of Brazil's victory over Colombia in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Ryan Rosenblatt at SB Nation described the sequence:
Neymar was injured when Juan Zuniga ran through him on a ball in the air. Zuniga's knee hit Neymar's back and the Brazilian fell to the ground. Play was later stopped for trainers to attend to Neymar, who was stretchered off the pitch in obvious pain.
Today the Associated Press is reporting that Brazilian soccer god Ronaldo doesn't believe the play that knocked Neymar out was clean.
We could see on television there was an intention by the Colombia player to actually cause some harm. I don't think it was a normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive."
His sentiments were echoed in many corners of the Twittersphere.
As the Times noted, Neymar had more or less assumed the role of poster child for Brazil's World Cup campaign:
It was a huge blow to the team, the country and the tournament. Neymar, 22, who plays for Barcelona, has had his face plastered on billboards and shown in television commercials since well before the tournament. For such a young player, he was shouldering a huge amount of responsibility.
He had also scored four goals in the tournament, the tied for the second most among players. (Colombia's recently eliminated James Rodriguez leads with six.)
As word spread about the extent of the injury, the celebratory mood across Brazil quickly dampened.
Brazil was already considered an underdog going into its next match against Germany. Their task just got considerably tougher.