Neymar Brazil Jeison Murillo Colombia Copa America 2015
Brazil forward Neymar appears to headbutt Colombia defender Jeison Murillo in their Copa America 2015 group matchReuters

It's the World Cup all over again. Neymar, for the second time in 12 months, will miss the rest of a big tournament, after a match involving Colombia.

The Brazilian was knocked out of the World Cup last year in the quarterfinals, after a clumsy challenge from Juan Zuniga broke his vertebrae, which meant Brazil had to play the rest of the most important tournament in world football without their talisman. The rest need hardly be said, of course, as Brazil suffered a crushing 7-1 loss in the semifinals to Germany.

Now, in the Copa America 2015, after a group match against Colombia on Wednesday, where the Barcelona forward was given a red card, Neymar was handed a four-match ban by the South American football federation CONMEBOL.

That basically means no more Copa America for Brazil's best player by a country mile. Brazil have one more group game to go, a match they need to win to ensure qualification into the knockout rounds, before a possible three more games if the South American heavyweights go all the way to the final.

Neymar was shown a red card after the final whistle in the Brazil vs Colombia match, after seeming to kick out at Pablo Armero and headbutt, or at least attempt to, the only goalscorer of the game Jeison Murillo. The referee Enrique Osses also said in his final report Neymar waited for him in the tunnel and had some choice words to say.

Carlos Bacca was also shown the red card for confronting Neymar, and the Colombia striker was handed a two-match ban.

Brazil did not cope too well the last time they lost Neymar, with Germany, the eventual world champions, running rampant and sending an entire nation into mourning, and the coaching skills of Dunga will now be seriously put to the test.

A bit of stardust has also been taken away from the Copa America 2015 with Neymar's ban as the 23-year-old was one of the main men of the tournament along with his Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and former Barcelona man and current Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez – Luis Suarez was already ruled out of the Copa America owing to his international ban for the Giorgio Chiellini biting incident at the World Cup.

It could all change in a hurry, though, as Brazil do have the right to appeal – and it is fairly sure they will – with hope still springing eternal, no doubt, that the ban could be considerably reduced.

For now, however, Neymar and Brazil are left to ponder on another "what might have been" situation.

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