Brazil paid a heavy price for their 2-1 quarter-final defeat of Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday, with star man Neymar suffering a fractured vertebra that will cause him to miss the rest of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. 

After being carried off in tears on a stretcher, Neymar was taken to the city’s Hospital Sao Carlos, where it was confirmed that his third vertebra had been broken. The news that neither his team nor his country wanted to hear was announced by the Brazil’s medical staff at the Estadio Castelao.

“Neymar had a scan, which confirmed he had fractured his third vertebra,” said Brazilian Football Association (CBF) doctor Rodrigo Lasmar. “In terms of the recovery process, it’s a fracture that heals quickly, but unfortunately he’ll be in no condition to play next week.”

Lasmar added: “It’s not serious in the sense that it requires surgery, but he’s in pain and he’ll need to immobilise it to recover. He’ll have to have it immobilised with a belt for a few weeks to be able to get back to full mobility.”

Neymar sustained the injury in the closing stages of the match, under a challenge from a Colombian defender. The sight of the stricken No10 being carried off and then taken to hospital for scans dampened the spirits of the Brazil fans as they celebrated their side’s qualification for the last four.

While the confirmation that Neymar’s tournament is over was greeted with dismay and sadness, his team-mates are already thinking about how to make up for his absence, Hulk among them. “It’s very sad news,” said the forward. “Nobody expected this.

“We are delighted with the win but sad about this news. It’s all very frustrating. Neymar really looks after himself. He was so excited about the World Cup and he’d helped us so much. We have to get over this and run even harder for him. We’re going to try and be the champions anyway and dedicate the title to him.”

Neymar has been one of A Seleção’s stand-out performers at the World Cup, scoring four goals, but will now have to watch from the sidelines when Brazil take on Germany in next Tuesday’s semi-final in Belo Horizonte.