World Cup 2014: Luis Suarez INCLUDED in Uruguay squad, despite knee injury

The Liverpool striker is a major doubt for the tournament in Brazil

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The Independent Football

Luis Suarez has been included in Uruguay’s final 23-man squad for the World Cup but Northern Ireland’s manager, Michael O’Neill, expects England to beat their South American opponents when they meet in Sao Paulo on 19 June for their second group match at the World Cup.

Uruguay laboured to victory against O’Neill’s out-of-form team, despite fielding a full-strength side with the notable exception of Suarez and the Atletico Madrid defender, Diego Godin.

Suarez had surgery on May 22 after damaging the meniscus in his left knee. However, Uruguay remain optimistic that Suarez, who is said to be progressing well, will feature in Brazil. On Saturday, the 27-year-old Liverpool forward was confirmed in coach Oscar Tabarez’s squad but it remains to be seen when Suarez will be able to return to action.

Against Northern Ireland, Uruguay had most of the possession but Manchester United’s former goalkeeper Roy Carroll was only beaten once, in the 62nd minute, when substitute Christian Stuani finished from close range. “Having seen Uruguay, I would expect England to beat them in Brazil,” O’Neill said. “I think if England play with pace in the forward areas they will cause them real problems. I’ll be honest, I think you can get at them.

“I think Wayne Rooney playing off Daniel Sturridge would give Uruguay a problem. This is a good team but it’s heavily dependent on the front two; if you nullify them you can get opportunities against them.”

O’Neill said he had not spoken to the England manager, Roy Hodgson, but would be happy to share his  observations. “If he wanted to call me or my assistant Billy McKinley, who he worked with at Fulham, there’d be no problem there,” O’Neill added. “But I’m sure he doesn’t need to, they will have had someone here and there’ll be a dossier 250 pages thick.”

Carroll, 36, now playing with the Greek club Olympiakos, was not the only former United player on show. Diego Forlan, the one-time Old Trafford striker, now aged 35 and playing in Japan with Cerezo Osaka, has been thrust back into the Uruguay starting line-up in Suarez’s absence.


Forlan is willing Suarez back to full fitness, even if it costs him his own place. “I want the whole team to be healthy and ready for the World Cup so I want Luis to be back and readyfor that,” said Forlan. “That would be much better for all of us. Luis came to the training ground in the morning to see us. We haven’t seen him for a week so it was nice to have him around again.

“He told us he is in good shape and recovering well and his treatment has been good. Everybody wants him to be ready.” Forlan was replaced at half-time against Northern Ireland, having been denied twice by Carroll, but he found the work-out useful.

“It was good because Northern Ireland play in the same style as England,” he said. “The England game is not more important for me because every game in a World Cup is just as important, but it will be a tough one.”

Uruguay squad for World Cup: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Rodrigo Munoz; Diego Lugano, Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez, Martin Caceres, Maximiliano Pereira, Jorge Fucile, Sebastian Coates; Egidio Arevalo-Rios, Walter Gargano, Diego Perez, Alvaro Gonzalez, Alvaro Pereira, Cristian Rodriguez, Gaston Ramirez, Nicolas Lodeiro; Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, Abel Hernandez, Christian Stuani.