'An extraordinary week in Brazil'
With only two games left to play in the 2014 World Cup, senior sports reporter Michael Lynch reflects on the "astonishing" events of the week from a sombre Sao Paulo.PT3M49S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3bs0s 620 349 July 11, 2014
TERESÓPOLIS: Brazilian superstar Neymar said on Thursday he wants Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi to lead Argentina to victory in the World Cup final against Germany.
At an emotional press conference, Neymar broke down in tears as he relived the challenge which broke a vertebrae in his back and left him fearing he would be paralysed.
With Brazil's dream of winning a sixth World Cup decimated by their 7-1 hammering by Germany, Neymar said he wants Barcelona teammate Messi to claim the trophy on Sunday against the Germans.
Neymar has returned to Brazil's training camp. Photo: Getty Images
"Messi's history in the sport is so important, he has won a lot of trophies and I will be cheering for him," Neymar told a press conference.
"He is a friend, he is my teammate and I wish him luck."
Neymar returned to Brazil's training camp in Teresopolis for the first time since the incident on Thursday in a bid to lift his teammates' spirits after their humiliation at the hands of Germany.
Argentina captain and Barcelona striker Lionel Messi. Photo: Getty Images
"It is not a pleasant situation, but it is good just to be back here so I can see my friends and I told them we stared together so we should finish this together regardless of the result."
And, despite not being able to take part himself, he urged the rest of the Brazil squad to at least salvage some pride against the Netherlands in their third-place playoff on Saturday.
"What matters is that we are united and we are going to finish this with honour on Saturday," he said.
Road to the World Cup final.
"We had the chance to be champion in our country and we failed. We didn't get it right, we fell short. We know we had a good campaign, but we did not play our best.
"We did not show how good Brazilian football is, its superiority and charm, but we have to look at this last match as if it were the final.
"Victory won't assimilate all the pain we feel today, but it is important."