Football

RACE AGAINST TIME FOR TRIO

LUIS SUAREZ (ARGENTINA)

Luis Suarez rejoined Uruguay's World Cup preparations on Monday, 11 days after knee-cartilage surgery threatened to dash the striker's hopes of playing at the Brazil Finals starting next week.

Suarez (above), injured in Liverpool's last match of his and their brilliant season in the Premier League, had keyhole surgery on damage to the outer meniscus in his left knee but was included in Uruguay's tournament squad at the weekend.

"He's doing muscle work and treadmill, he's walking without pain," said team doctor Alberto Pan on Monday.

Suarez remains doubtful for Uruguay's opening Group D match against Costa Rica in Fortaleza on June 14, but they hope he will be fit to face England in Sao Paulo on June 19 and Italy in Natal on June 24. - Reuters.

DIEGO COSTA (SPAIN)

Striker Diego Costa is hopeful of playing some part in Spain's friendly against El Salvador on Sunday morning (Singapore time), as he battles to be fit in time for the World Cup.

The Atletico Madrid player (above), who has been struggling with various muscle problems for the past two months, was included in coach Vicente del Bosque's 23-man squad last Saturday.

"I hope to have some minutes next week against El Salvador in Washington," Costa told Spanish newspaper Marca. "I have been working with the physios and I feel very good. From tomorrow, I will work with the rest of the team and with del Bosque."

The forward lasted less than 10 minutes of the Champions League final last weekend, before limping off with a hamstring injury that put his World Cup ambitions in jeopardy.

"I am looking forward to going to the World Cup and I am very happy," said Costa. "Our aim is to win it of course and we will be fighting for that." - Reuters.

FRANCK RIBERY (FRANCE)

France coach Didier Deschamps included Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery (above), who has been suffering from lower back pains, in his 23-man World Cup squad on Monday.

The only change from the list Deschamps named last month is 
St Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier replacing the injured Steve Mandanda.

France face Honduras, Ecuador and Switzerland in Group E in Brazil. 
- Reuters.