Neymar fractured a vertebra in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia and was ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
He was not forgotten, however, as fans chanted his name at kick-off and captain for the day David Luiz held up his number 10 shirt as the teams lined up for the national anthems.
"I am one fan among many today and I hope we win," Neymar said in a short video message broadcast on TV Globo. "We are going to win and we'll see you at the Maracana for the final."
Neymar's place in the team against Germany at the Mineirao stadium will be taken by local boy Bernard.
"He was the most important player in the team, he will be missed, but Bernard is from here, the group is behind him and the fans are behind him," said Silva, who misses the game due to suspension. "I am sure he will play a great game."
Hundreds of fans at the ground wore Neymar masks in support of the player and his team mates wore caps with the hashtag #ForcaNeymar, or #StrengthNeymar.
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- David Luiz