The Rio Report

Neymar on bench just days after breaking back

The Rio Report

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Brazil talisman Neymar has shrugged off a fractured vertebra to take his place on the bench ahead of his nation’s World Cup third-place play-off with the Netherlands.

[NEYMAR: ZUNIGA COULD HAVE LEFT ME IN WHEELCHAIR BUT I DON'T HOLD A GRUDGE]

The striker was ruled out of the tournament following a robust challenge from Colombia’s Juan Zuniga in the quarter-finals and won’t actually feature against the Netherlands as he continues his recovery.

There were reports Neymar could have an injection to get him through Brazil’s final match, but given they fell at the penultimate hurdle drastic action was not required.

Much of the build-up to that semi-final with Germany centred around the 22-year-old’s absence – leading some to blame the lack of focus for the hosts’ humiliating 7-1 defeat.

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