Football

No hurry to start Suarez

Tabarez in no hurry to play Liverpool ace, Cavani and Forlan to start against Costa Rica

GROUP D

URUGUAY v COSTA RICA

(Tomorrow, 3am, SingTel mio TV Ch 141 & StarHub TV Ch 223)

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez says he won't rush Luis Suarez back from a knee injury for his side's World Cup opener against Costa Rica in Fortaleza tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Suarez had an operation to repair damage to the meniscus in his left knee just three weeks ago and Tabarez is wary of throwing him straight back into the side, with seemingly tougher tests against England and Italy to come in Group D.

"Yesterday afternoon, Suarez did the most important thing in training, which is play football," Tabarez said.

"We don't want to pressure him in any way, though; we have prepared for this game without Luis. We are very happy with his recovery, but we need to be cautious.

LONG TIME

"There is still a day to go until the game, and that, for me, is a long time because many things can happen. But if nothing changes, then I have decided on the team."

Tabarez confirmed that in the absence of Suarez, Diego Forlan will partner Edinson Cavani in attack, while Christian Stuani will start ahead of Gaston Ramirez on the right.

Uruguay were the surprise package of the World Cup four years ago when they reached the semi-finals before their narrow loss to Holland, and Tabarez believes that experience and winning the Copa America in 2011 should make them a more formidable side this time.

"In 2010, many of these players were 22 or 23, now they have matured," he said.

"From 2006 till now, we have managed to amalgamate a group of players that doesn't just end at the 23 that are here; there are plenty others too.

"Now everyone, both the players and myself, has more experience."

On paper, Costa Rica appear to be the potential whipping boys of the group, up against three former World Cup winners.

GOOD START

And Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera admitted they need to get off to a good start to ease the pressure.

"We have the ability to go far, but we don't want to assume the role of favourites because it has never suited us well," he said.

"The first game is always difficult. A good result takes a weight off your shoulders and allows you to look forward."

Uruguay's preparations were disrupted when hordes of Brazilian ants infiltrated their World Cup training camp and found their way into the players' beds.

Muslera posted a photograph on Twitter of hundreds of the offending insects scuttling over his bedsheets but said they were swiftly dealt with by staff at the camp near the city of Belo Horizonte.

"It was funny more than anything else," said Muslera.

"We found ants in the beds, myself and (reserve goalkeeper Rodrigo) Munoz who's sharing the room with me.

"But it was fine. They came straight away and changed the sheets and we slept well."

- Wire Services.

World Cup