With both Uruguay and England losing their opening matches of the World Cup, this Thursday’s encounter in Sao Paolo between the two sides has taken on an extra edge with qualification for the next round of the tournament hanging in the balance.
La Celeste striker Edinson Cavani put Oscar Tabarez’s side ahead from the spot after 24-minutes, but three unanswered goals from the unfancied Central American side — plus a straight red card for defender Maximiliano Pereira — left the Uruguayan’s teetering on the edge of elimination. Despite a wealth of attacking talent, the South American’s looked listless going forward and has put the Luis Suarez question front and center with the 27-year old in the frame for a recall when they line up against the Three Lions on Thursday.
“”It was his demand to be on the bench. It would have been very difficult for him to come on. He is no longer injured,” Tabarez said when asked about the possibility of Suarez featuring at some point against England on Thursday. “We have four days left before the game against England and if he proves that he is in good form, we will consider the possibility of him playing. For us Suarez is a crucial player.”
The Liverpool striker, who scored 31-goals last season as the Reds finished runners-up to eventual champions Manchester City, was an unused substitute in Sunday’s shock loss to Costa Rica. Despite going two goals down, Tabarez hesitated to throw Suarez into the fray with his knee still suspect. Although his knee surgery, completed just under a month ago, was deemed a success, Suarez is hardly match fit and just resumed full training ahead of the meeting with the South Americans.
Should he be risked, Uruguay fans won’t be the only ones hoping he comes through the match unscathed. With Liverpool making their first return to the Champions League since 2009, the striker remains a vital part of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers plans and any recurrence of the injury will throw a massive spanner in the works. If he makes his way onto the pitch, they’ll be quite a few Kopites wincing along with every challenge and each tackle with their fingers firmly crossed.