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Suarez still a question mark

By Agence France-Presse in Fortaleza, Brazil (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-14 07:26

Uruguay will give star striker Luis Suarez every chance to prove his fitness less than a month after having knee surgery ahead of its World Cup opener with Costa Rica in Fortaleza on Saturday.

The Premier League Player of the Year had an operation to repair damage to the meniscus in his left knee on May 22, but has remained steadfast in his determination to play in Brazil.

"I want to tell everyone that the recovery is going very well and that the knee feels good. Everything depends on how things go day-by-day, but it is going well," Suarez said via his official Twitter account.

"I want to thank you all for the messages of support I have received throughout the week and my mind is now focused on the World Cup."

Suarez still a question mark

However, with tougher tests against England and Italy to come for the 2010 semifinalists later in Group D, coach Oscar Tabarez might be tempted to give his star a few extra days to recover.

"If it was down to me, Suarez would play," said Tabarez.

"His path from the under 20 side to now has been incredible, but first we just think about him as a person rather than a player, and we protect him. Then we can go step-by-step and we are getting closer to the dream that he will be with us."

Should Suarez not start then Diego Forlan, the Golden Ball winner from four years ago, will join Paris Saint-Germain's Edison Cavani to spearhead Uruguay's attack.

Forlan returned to training on Thursday after missing a session earlier in the week due to a stomach problem.

The only other doubt for Tabarez is whether to start Espanyol's Cristian Stuani or Southampton's Gaston Ramirez on the right side of the attack.

Ramirez started in recent friendly wins over Northern Ireland and Slovenia, but Stuani came off the bench to score in both those matches and looks the favorite to start.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, comes into the competition as huge underdog as it has been grouped alongside three previous World Cup winners.

(China Daily 06/14/2014 page15)

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