Neymar became emotional when talking Thursday about the injury that ruled him out of the World Cup, saying that if the knee to his back had been slightly more to one side he "could be in a wheelchair" right now.

The Brazil striker cried as he recalled the injury, saying "God blessed" him and prevented a more serious injury. Neymar had to stop talking for several seconds, lowering his head and putting a hand in front of his eyes.

"It's difficult to talk about a move that (happened) in such an important moment of my career," he said.

Neymar fractured his third vertebra when defender Juan Camilo Zuniga hit him from behind in a challenge late in the quarterfinal match against Colombia.

"If it had been 2 centimeters to the center ...," he said, struggling to stay composed. "I could be in a wheelchair."

The 22-year-old striker complained about Zuniga's challenge, although he said the Colombian called to apologize.

"I don't know if he was trying to hurt me, but if you understand football you know that it was not a normal challenge," Neymar said. "I can't protect myself when I'm not facing the play."

Neymar said the injury led to "the worst week of his life," one that culminated -- in his absence -- with Brazil's 7-1 thrashing by Germany in the semifinals. He said he didn't know how to explain what happened, and that it would be "unfair for this group" to be remembered by that result alone.

"It would have been all right to lose, but not like this. It was unbelievable, inexplicable," Neymar said. "I don't have the words to explain what happened."

Suarez appeal denied: FIFA has rejected Uruguay star Luis Suarez's appeal against his lengthy ban for biting an opponent in a World Cup match. If Suarez lodges an appeal against the ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, he could apply to CAS for an immediate freeze on the sanctions.

Argentina: Striker Sergio Aguero says the team took account of Germany's 7-1 thrashing of Brazil, and that "what happened to Brazil could happen to any team." The Argentines and Germans meet in the World Cup final Sunday.

But Aguero said the Germans, too, have reason "to be concerned about us, knowing that we have players who can create danger up front. We're in the final for a reason."

  • Team spokesman Andres Ventura says winger Angel Di Maria was practicing at "60-80 percent" at the team base in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and that team doctors would monitor his condition on a daily basis "to see if he can play" in the World Cup final.

    Di Maria strained a muscle in his right thigh in the first half of the quarterfinal match against Belgium last Saturday. He missed Wednesday's semifinal against the Netherlands, with Enzo Perez taking his spot in Argentina's midfield.