Silva hits out at Zuniga challenge

07 July 2014 11:16

Brazil captain Thiago Silva has branded Juan Zuniga a 'coward' for causing the injury that ended Neymar's World Cup.

The Barcelona forward was ruled out of the rest of the tournament last Friday when he fractured a vertebra following an aerial collision with Zuniga.

The Colombia defender caught Neymar with his knee right at the bottom of his back, leaving his opponent in agony on the floor.

Silva defended Zuniga immediately after Brazil's quarter-final, insisting the Napoli defender did not have any "nastiness" in him.

However, the Paris St Germain defender has clearly had a change of heart on the matter.

"It was a coward's tackle," Silva told a press conference on the eve of Brazil's semi-final against Germany.

"Some people say it was normal, but I don't think it was.

"That kind of challenge isn't done. You can't get the ball from someone by putting your knee into a player's back, it's not normal."

FIFA confirmed on Monday that no disciplinary action would be taken against Zuniga, who has received a flurry of abuse for causing the injury even though he has made two public apologies.

World football's governing body also confirmed on the eve of the Germany game that Silva's appeal against his second yellow card of the tournament, which came when he blocked Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina, had failed.

That means Brazil's captain will be banned from the semi-final, much to his annoyance.

"I was trying to avoid making fouls against Colombia. I think it was the only one I committed in the match, so it's difficult not being in this game and I'll suffer," he said.

"It'll be tough b ut I don't think my mission is complete in this World Cup.

"It's made the group more united, the fact that Neymar and I can't play. It strengthens the group immensely."

Silva is sure his replacement, Dante, will do a good job against the Germans.

"He's ready," said Silva, who will hand the captain's armband to David Luiz.

"He works very hard. He is one of the first out at training and one of the last to leave, so he has the energy and the skills.

"I played with him in 2004 and I know what he overcame to get here. This could be his moment to go out there and show his abilities."

Source: PA