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World Cup

  • 19 June 2014
  • • 20:00
  • • Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, São Paulo
  • Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
  • • Attendance: 62575

Uruguay-England Preview: Suarez facing fitness race ahead of Group D crunch

Uruguay-England Preview: Suarez facing fitness race ahead of Group D crunch

Everything for the South American side hinges on the return of their star striker, as England contemplate an early exit unless they avoid defeat

Even before they were humiliated by Costa Rica in their opening game, Uruguay knew that Luis Suarez’s fitness would be key to their hopes of qualifying from Group D.

That 3-1 loss in Fortaleza leaves Oscar Tabarez sweating more than ever on his star striker’s recovery after knee surgery, and the Liverpool talisman has admitted he was frustrated at being unable to play in his side’s opener but insists he will not take to the field against England unless he is fully fit.

Tabarez has concerns elsewhere too, though. Maxi Pereira’s rash challenge in the dying moments of Saturday’s defeat mean he is ruled out through suspension, while the space granted to Joel Campbell in particular could spark a change at the back.

The Uruguay boss will also be without experienced centre-back Diego Lugano, although his form has been faltering lately.

In comparison, Roy Hodgson has much less on his mind, even taking into account the continued questions over Wayne Rooney’s role in the side.

The Manchester United forward started from the left in the defeat to Italy, but the England boss has been pushed decide whether he could get more out of his No.10 by switching him into the centre.

One thing Hodgson will be boosted by is the return to fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who trained on Monday following his recovery from a knee injury.


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