Fifa World Cup 2014

Luis Suarez gets chance to prove fitness for Costa Rica clash

Less than a month after knee surgery, Uruguay plan to give star striker as much time as needed to be 100 per cent fit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 10:37pm

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

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 feature 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.

First we just think about him as a person rather than a footballer and protect him ... and we are getting closer to the dream that he will be with us
Oscar Tabarez

"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."

But with tougher tests on paper in England and Italy to come for the 2010 semi-finalists later in group D, coach Oscar Tabarez may be tempted to give his star a few extra days to recover.

"If it was down to me, then 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 footballer and 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 in the match early tomorrow morning (Hong Kong time) then the Golden Ball winner from four years ago, Diego Forlan, will join Paris Saint-Germain's Edison Cavani in 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 favourite.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, come into the competition as huge underdogs as they have been grouped alongside three previous World Cup winners.

The task for the Central Americans' has been made even more difficult by injuries to key players as fullback Heiner Mora joined Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio and Everton's Bryan Oviedo in missing out on the tournament.

But captain Bryan Ruiz insisted they will not be overawed by their opponents.

"Everything is ready," he said. "We know what the team will be, the tactics we will use and also what we have to do during the game.

"There is a lot of motivation and, despite knowing that a point would be good, we don't want to settle and we will look for the three points," Ruiz added.