One hundred per cent or not, Suarez is vital – Tabarez

The Uruguay star may not be fully fit, but his national coach insists he is important to his team’s hopes against England on Thursday

Luis Suarez is important to Uruguay’s hopes of beating England even if he is not 100 per cent fit, his national coach Oscar Tabarez has admitted.

The two countries face off in Group D of the World Cup in Sao Paulo on Thursday, but there continue to be doubts over the star striker’s fitness following a knee injury which saw him miss out on the Celeste’s 3-1 loss to Costa Rica on Saturday.

But Tabarez insists that Suarez will be key, even if he is not at the level Liverpool fans have come to expect at kick-off time.

“Luis Suarez had a problem with an injury four weeks ago during training with the national team. He had a check-up, the doctors saw he had a problem with his left knee, the necessary measures were taken and he started his recovery,” explained Tabarez.

“He has recovered very well. His knee seems to have adapted to the training and to the work he has done, so he has been training and playing with his team-mates in the last week. Obviously that is not the same as a match.

“If he plays tomorrow we must consider the possibility that he is not as well as he is with Liverpool. But even if he is not 100%, he is important.”

Uruguay are still smarting from their opening game defeat, and Tabarez admits there is some concern over their World Cup hopes but his men will fight until the last to stay in the competition.

“Of course we are worried after starting the World Cup with a defeat, but it is not over. We are a team that’s always willing to fight and to recover,” insisted the head coach.

“We still have two games and tomorrow both teams need to win. We know our opponents will be hard to beat. The England team is very good at attacking, they have four very fast players who are always up front and they are very direct and pragmatic.

“But we have had similar situations which we have been able to overcome. This doesn’t mean that we’ll do it tomorrow, but we know that our team always fight until the end.”

The clash with England at the Arena Corinthians kicks off at 21:00CET on Thursday, and Uruguay finish off their Group D campaign against Italy in Natal on Tuesday.

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