Tabarez: Suarez still not 100 per cent but will still cause Italy problems

The 67-year-old coach has admitted he will be relying upon the Liverpool striker's genius in the final third to see them past Cesare Prandelli's side - despite his injury problems
Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez has admitted Luis Suarez is still not 100 per cent fit but insisted that the forward is still capable of causing Italy all sorts of problems.

The Liverpool striker was forced to undergo knee surgery last month and missed his country's tournament-opening loss to Costa Rica.

But he returned in dramatic match-winning fashion in Sao Paulo last Thursday, scoring both goals in the Celeste's crucial 2-1 win over England.

Suarez is not yet match fit but Tabarez has no doubts about once again starting his star striker in Uruguay's must-win meeting with Italy at Arena das Dunas on Tuesday.

"He's still not at 100 per cent," the 67-year-old coach told reporters on Monday. "But his presence will be great for the team and a problem for our opponents.

"We rely a lot on what Luis can do in the final third of the pitch he has not lost anything after the meniscus operation."

While Suarez is set to start against the Italians, Tabarez refused to confirm if he will stick with the exact same starting line-up that saw off England.

"If one gives the line-up beforehand, it is a courtesy - nothing more. I do not see the point in announcing it," he confessed.

"Regarding the team that played the last game [against England], they are to be thanked for doing a good job.

"I think that side, even with some minor variations, can be perfectly adapted to the demands of facing Italy.

"But it will not cost us anything to wait until a few hours before the game before naming the team."

Tabarez admitted that the Group D showdown represented the biggest game of his long and illustrious coaching career but would not be drawn on whether his future as Uruguay boss hinges on the result.

"My opinion is that I contract until our last game of the World Cup," he stated. "That's the only thing I'm thinking about. Anyone can give their opinion but I'm not giving it any consideration. It's not the time."

Uruguay and Italy both have three points after two games but the Azzurri's superior goal difference means that Cesare Prandelli's only need a draw in Natal to go through to the last 16.