Sports

Colombia defender Zuniga apologizes to Neymar for tackle that knocked him out of World Cup

Colombia's Juan Zuniga waits to get the ball as Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari yells instructions to his players during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. Brazil defeated Colombia 2-1 to advance to the semifinals. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Colombia's Juan Zuniga waits to get the ball as Brazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari yells instructions to his players during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. Brazil defeated Colombia 2-1 to advance to the semifinals. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)  (The Associated Press)

Colombia defender Camilo Zuniga has sent a letter of apology to Neymar, saying he is "deeply sorry and sad" for causing the injury that knocked the Brazil striker out of the World Cup.

In a statement distributed Saturday by the Colombia team, Zuniga says "although I feel the situation was normal in a game, there was no bad intention, malice or negligence on my part."

Neymar, Brazil's key player at the World Cup, broke a vertebra in his back late in Friday's quarterfinal win over Colombia.