Brazil will face Germany on Tuesday for a spot in the World Cup, but injured superstar Neymar will have to watch the match from home.
Neymar, who remains tied for second among all World Cup players with four goals in the tournament, will cheer on his countrymen while recuperating at his home in Guarujá, Brazilian newspaper Veja reports. However, the injured 22-year-old reportedly promised his teammates that he’d watch them play at Maracana Stadium if Brazil manages to defeat Germany.
The injury occurred during Brazil’s July 4 quarterfinal match against Colombia. Neymar suffered a fractured vertebra after Colombian defender Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back during the game’s 86th minute.
The Brazilian star took to his Instagram account on Tuesday to thank fans for their support as he recovers from his injury. “I would like to thank everybody who sent me their positive energy and I also would like to ask that we all cheer together until the last second. I would very very much like to be with supporters and with my teammates on the field on Sunday at the Maracana,” Neymar wrote. “I wish I could speak more than one language so I could thank everybody. Those messages made the last days less painful. Today I will watch the game from outside, I will be one of 200 million supporters. I know how important it is for those on the field to have our support.”
In a July 5 video message to his fans, an emotional Neymar acknowledged that the back injury would end his participation in the World Cup, but expressed confidence that Brazil would be able to win without him. “My dream was to play at a World Cup final but I’m certain my teammates will be champions,” he said, via the Daily Mail. “I will be there with them, and all Brazilians will soon be celebrating all of that.”
Aside from the absence of their leading scorer, Brazil will have to overcome the loss of team captain Thiago Silva, who was suspended for the semifinal match after receiving a second yellow card against Colombia. Still, Brazil has history on its side; the Seleção haven’t lost a competitive international match at home since 1975.
The 2014 World Cup semifinal match between Brazil and Germany will air at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. Check out a preview of the contest here.