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Fiji Time: 5:28 AM on Wednesday 17 September

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Neymar's World Cup dream still alive

5 Agencies
Monday, July 07, 2014

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil - Brazil star Neymar says his World Cup dream is still alive, despite his tournament being over because of a fractured vertebra.

In a video released by the Brazilian football confederation on Saturday, Neymar thanked fans and everyone else for the support in his "very difficult moment."

"I don't have words to describe what has been going through my head and my heart," said Neymar.

"I just want to say that I will be back as soon as possible. When you least expect I'll be back."

Wearing a black T-shirt and a black hat turned backward, he spoke in a low tone of voice, his eyes still heavy.

"My dream is not over yet," he said.

"It was interrupted by one move, but it will continue and I'm certain that my teammates will do whatever possible so I can fulfill my dream of being a champion.

"I won't be able to fulfill the dream of playing in a World Cup final, but I'm sure they will win this one, they will become champions, and I will be there with them, and all of Brazil will be celebrating together."

It was the first time Neymar had spoken publicly since the injury, suffered late in Brazil's 2-1 win over Colombia in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Without their star player, Brazil has gone into shock ahead of their match-up with Germany in Tuesday's semi-final in Belo Horizonte, with even football legend Pele declaring "it hurts our hearts".

Meanwhile, FIFA said it could take action against Zuniga for the challenge.

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee is analysing all the elements provided, the videos and the match reports, and will decide whether or not to take action," FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer told a briefing.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has led the tributes to Neymar, publishing a letter of support to "a great warrior."

"Your expression of pain on the field yesterday hurt my heart and the hearts of every Brazilian," she said. "I know that as a Brazilian you never give up, and sooner than expected you will be back filling our souls with happiness and our history with success."

The 22-year-old Neymar broke his third vertebra after being kneed in the back by Colombian player Juan Camillo Zuniga in the 86th minute.

Doctors said he would not need surgery but was expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks.

Meanwhile, Zuniga defended his challenge immediately after the match and emphasised he meant Neymar no harm.

"I feel burdened by this situation," he said in an Instagram message. "It resulted from a normal play and there was no bad intention, evil or recklessness from my part.

"I want to send a special salute to Neymar.

"I admire you, I respect you and I consider you one of the best players in the world.

"I hope you recover soon."


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