Rio de Janeiro: Brazil's soccer federation is pressing FIFA to punish the Colombian player it holds responsible for the injury that has sidelined Brazil's top player, Neymar, for the rest of the World Cup.
Neymar sustained a lumbar fracture when he was kneed in the back by Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga late in their quarterfinal match Saturday in Brasilia. Brazil won the game, 2-1, but announced afterward that Neymar would miss the rest of the tournament. His injury has infuriated Brazilians. Late Saturday, the Brazilian federation, known by the acronym CBF, presented evidence - presumably video and supporting documentation - to FIFA's disciplinary committee and demanded action. (Also read: Brazil want Thiago Silva ban scrapped, Zuniga inquiry)
The committee is responsible for any potential supplementary discipline; Zuniga was called for a foul but did not receive a yellow card on the play. Neymar fell to the turf in obvious pain and was carried from the field on a stretcher, and the Brazilian news media has breathlessly reported on his injury in the hours since it happened. Zuniga told reporters after the match that he considered the play "a normal challenge as part of the game; we both wanted to win the ball and we both went in a little strong." (Also read: Pele hopes Brazil will win without Neymar)
"I certainly didn't go into the challenge hoping to fracture his back," Zuniga said.
The match referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo of Spain, has also come under heavy criticism for the tenor of the match, which was the most physical of the World Cup with 54 fouls whistled. FIFA said Velasco Carballo would be evaluated through the normal review processes in place for each game, but any potential punishment may be little more than the loss of more assignments here.
That was unlikely even before Neymar's injury; there are only four games remaining in the tournament.
In any case, a FIFA spokeswoman, Delia Fischer, said actions against match officials are "not a matter for the FIFA disciplinary committee."
© 2014 New York Times News Service