After long domestic seasons mixed in with international friendlies and continental competitions, it's not too surprising to see players come down with major injuries during the World Cup. From Angel di Maria's thigh injury, to Hector Moreno's broken tibia and even Neymar's fractured vertebra, the human body can only take so much wear and tear before it breaks down. That said, while muscle tears and pulled hamstrings are to be expected, an injury suffered by Argentina's Javier Mascherano during Wednesday's semifinal against the Netherlands is, well, unique. Let's have Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri break it down:
Some unforgettable words from Mascherano: "I spread out my anus in that last tackle, that's why I felt so much pain"
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 10, 2014
That's right. After suffering an apparent concussion during the first half of Wednesday's semifinal, an injury that should have seen him taken off for the rest of the match, Mascherano went on to tear his anus late in extra-time. Booking a ticket to the World Cup Final is a dream for any soccer player, but a concussion and a torn anus are a heavy price to pay.
According to Mascherano, the incident occurred during Arjen Robben's late break down the flank in extra time that saw the Dutch midfielder near a clear shot on Argentina's Sergio Romero. Just as Robben was set to give the Dutch a 1-0 lead, Mascherano slid in with an inch-perfect tackle that sent the ball out of bounds and kept Argentina in the game. Describing the incident in the mixed zone after the match, Mascherano clarified why he doubled over in pain after making the tackle.
"I tore the anus.... I don't want to sound crude... Robben game me an opportunity when he took a touch; he lost a second and I won. What I did anyone could have done. To be in the final you need a bit of luck."
A bit of luck and plenty of commitment.