Neymar injury sends host Brazil into somber mood


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A somber mood spread over Brazil on
Saturday as football fans slowly came to grips with the loss of star
striker Neymar, whose fractured vertebra knocked him out of the World
Brazil’s top newspapers featured front-page spreads of Neymar
on the turf after he took a knee to the back during the 2-1
quarterfinal win over Colombia, crying out in pain. The host nation’s
hopes for a sixth World Cup title had rested mostly on the shoulders of
the 22-year-old forward.
The cover of top sports newspaper Lance stated simply: "Play For Him."
online version included headlines the "The sixth title will be for
him!" and "The Brazilian team is going to bleed for Neymar."
Rio de Janeiro’s O Globo paper headlined its special Cup section: "Without him, can it be?"
Yet hopes weren’t completely stamped out.
Kfouri, one of Brazil’s most influential sports commentators, wrote in
the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper in a column titled "Impossible?" that,
yes, Brazil faces an immense challenge against the powerful Germany team
in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Neymar is out and captain Thiago Silva is suspended, after picking up two yellow cards.
"The Germans are not only the favorites, they’re a sure thing," Kfouri wrote. "And therein
lies the danger — for them.
of the shame of possibly not making it to the semifinals, the Brazilian
side is now the underdog confronting mission impossible.
The fans
heading to Mineirao this Tuesday will be there with the core feeling of
‘I Believe’ — and they’ll be hoping for a miracle."
That sliver of optimism was felt among some fans on the street, too.
is infamous for grinding bureaucracy that makes the simplest of tasks
seemingly impossible — which many believe has made the Brazilian people
more creative, more resilient and has given rise to an entire philosophy
known in Portuguese as "jeitinho"— or the Brazilian Way.
Simply put, it’s the ability to resolve an tough situation using imagination, connections, subterfuge or
sheer will and skill.
‘jeitinho’ should help Brazil overcome Neymar’s absence," said Leandro
Santos, a 30-year-old restaurant manager in Sao Paulo. "Brazilians
always find unexpected ways to deal with problems and setbacks — and I
think that’s what this team will do."

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