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Brazil launch Silva bid as semis loom

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Brazil stoked controversy ahead of the World Cup semi-finals by urging FIFA to scrap the suspension ruling captain Thiago Silva

AP7_1_2014_000235BRio de Janeiro: Brazil stoked controversy ahead of the World Cup semi-finals by urging FIFA to scrap the suspension ruling captain Thiago Silva out of the host nation’s clash with Germany.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said it wanted FIFA to rescind the yellow card awarded against Silva during Friday’s bruising quarter-final win over Colombia.

The card against Silva was “unjustly shown” and the defender should therefore be allowed to face the Germans in Belo Horizonte, the CBF said in a statement.

The Brazilian association also demanded FIFA launch an investigation into the “violent challenge” by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga that saw left star striker Neymar out of the tournament.

Zuniga has apologised for the tackle but insisted there was no intention to injure the opponent.

Neymar cried “I can’t feel my legs” after Zuniga’s knee in the back challenge, Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told Spanish sports daily Marca.

Scolari said the whole team panicked.

Left back Marcelo was first to reach the striker, who suffered a fractured vertebrae.

Marcelo knelt next to Neymar and asked how he felt, according to Scolari. “He replied: ‘I can’t feel my legs,'” added the coach.

Marcelo shouted for the team doctor, but doctors are not allowed onto the pitch.

“It was a big shock, the image of Neymar being stretchered off to the helicopter, in difficulty, crying,” Scolari was quoted as saying. If Brazil’s appeal of Silva’s suspension fails, they will line up against Germany missing two key players after Neymar’s injury exit.

However, German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said Neymar’s absence could spell trouble for his team, suggesting it may give the hosts a cause to rally around.

“It’ll bring the (Brazil) team together and they’ll want to win the title for him,” Schweinsteiger said.

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