World Cup 2014: Luis Suarez may be rested against England, IF Uruguay win opening match
Uruguay are wary of risking the Liverpool striker and may give him more time if they pick up three points against Costa Rica
Uruguay are weighing up keeping Luis Suarez out of their starting line-up to face England in Sao Paulo a week today if they open their World Cup campaign with a win, with Chile’s Arturo Vidal struggle to recover from a similar knee injury making them aware of a need for caution.
Sources in Uruguay believe that Suarez is now unlikely to face the Costa Ricans in the opening game for Oscar Tabarez’s team on Saturday and a win it that fixture may persuade the nation to err on the side of caution with the Liverpool striker. A defeat or draw would put immediate pressure on the South Americans and make them more likely to gamble on Suarez.
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There is an acute awareness in the Uruguayan camp of the crisis which has hit Chile after they brought back Vidal, the Juventus midfielder, too early. The 27-year-old underwent knee surgery in early May to repair a meniscus – the same knee condition which saw Suarez break down in Uruguay training and require an operation. There were confident claims from Santiago that he would be back for the World Cup. But an unexpected 15-minute appearance in a friendly against Northern Ireland in Valparaiso on June 5 proved disastrous, causing Vidal’s knee to swell and throwing his hopes of appearing for the Chileans into doubt. Vidal is as integral to Chile – who face a tough group with Spain and the Netherlands - as Suarez is to Uruguay.
Tabárez said of Suarez: “We have no set deadlines. I don’t know if we’ll have him for the first match, for the second, for the third. If it were up to me, Suárez would play tomorrow.”
Suárez has trained apart from his team-mates this week at Uruguay’s Belo Horizonte base. He has worked with the ball, taking soft shots and short passes with his right leg, though hardly using the left leg which he has had keyhole surgery on.
Liverpool will have mixed feelings about Suarez playing a major part in the tournament. There are already suggestions from Real Madrid that president Florentino Perez does want to take him for next season. Though the Anfield club are privately confident that he will stay, a strong showing in the next four weeks from him could persuade Perez to move aggressively when the tournament is over. He always wants to sign players the world is talking about.
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