Four days after Neymar was kneed in the back, Brazil face the real possibility of being booted out of their own World Cup when they take on Germany in the semifinal at Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
The hosts will have to manage without their star striker after he sustained a fractured vertebra in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia in Fortaleza.
It's not just in attack that Brazil have problems -- captain and key defender Thiago Silva is suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the same match.
Neymar's injury is a huge blow to the hosts who, under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari are looking to reach the final for the first time in 12 years in their hunt for a sixth world crown.
Wild celebrations following Friday's win became more muted when news filtered through that Neymar -- scorer of four goals in five matches in Brazil's campaign --would play no further part in the tournament.
"It's like we have lost today," a female Brazilian fan in Rio de Janeiro told CNN after hearing of the seriousness of Neymar's injury.
"It's terrible, terrible. I'm so sad. But let's go on."
Sympathy also came flooding in from fans and arch rivals -- old and new.
"It concerns not only the Brazilian people but all of us who love football," Argentine legend Diego Maradona told the Venezuela-based Telesur TV network.
"It was his World Cup, in his country. He had great hopes."
The Albicelestes current playmaker Lionel Messi also responded, posting a message for his Barcelona teammate on his Facebook page.
"Neymar, I hope you recover very soon, friend!" Messi wrote while German midfielder Mesut Ozil tweeted: "Neymar, I am unhappy. get well soon."
Such is the fevered speculation surrounding Neymar there were even suggestions the Barcelona star could play if he had painkilling injections or underwent emergency surgery.
That speculation was quickly put to rest by the Brazilian Football Association Monday who said such treatment would not happen as it would would endanger Neymar's future career.
Dreams of a miraculous return were perhaps fueled by Brazil's obvious reliance on their stricken star.
The 22-year-old talisman has scored 35 goals in 54 international appearances -- three more than the combined totals of the squad's other forwards -- Fred, Hulk and Jo -- have managed in total in matches for the Selecao.
"Brazil are too dependent on Neymar," former Brazil midfielder Juninho told CNN following the group stages.
"If Neymar plays well, Brazil plays well. If he doesn't, nobody can do his job. It's a worry. It's like Portugal with Ronaldo."
A member of Brazil's last World Cup winning squad in 2002, Juninho also queried whether the current side have the experience to sustain their challenge.
"When you wear a Brazilian shirt you are under pressure even now when you play in your country. I think the players need to know how to deal with that.
"All of the players have a lot of experience in European competition but not in the national team and in the World Cup -- for a lot of them this is their first World Cup."
Brazil's winning captain in 1970, Carlos Alberto, struck a more positive note ahead of the Germany clash when he recalled the impact Garrincha made when he deputized for the injured Pele 52 years ago.
"In the 1962 World Cup, we lost Pele," Alberto told Sportv.
"Maybe someone will wake up and become the Garrincha of 1962."
Another Brazilian great -- former midfielder Zico -- hopes a Neymar-less Brazil can prosper if Scolari deploys more "combative" midfielders.