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 Posted by PA Sport
Jun 18, 2014

Tabarez: Suarez not 100 percent fit

All England squad members took part in training ahead of their crucial World Cup against Uruguay in Sao Paulo.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has conceded Luis Suarez will not be at his best if he is fit enough to face England on Thursday.

- Vickery: Can Uruguay defy the odds?

Suarez, scorer of 27 Premier League goals last season, will be key to his side's chances of beating the Three Lions in their crunch Group D match in Sao Paulo.

The striker's fitness has been a hot topic since he suffered a knee injury at a training camp just over four weeks before the start of the World Cup.

The Liverpool player has declared himself fit and he took part in a full training session at the Arena de Sao Paulo, but Tabarez refused to reveal whether he will start the match.

If Suarez does play, Tabarez concedes he will struggle to replicate the kind of form he showed in England last season after over a month out.

"We will announce who will play tomorrow and not before,'' Tabarez told a news conference in Sao Paulo.

"He has recovered well but if he plays we must consider the possibility that he's not as well as he was during the Premier League.

"He has trained with his teammates but training is not the same as a match. But even when not 100 percent he is someone who can give a lot to his team. That's what we're considering right now.''

Four years ago, Suarez caused outrage when he blocked a goal-bound shot on the line in Uruguay's World Cup quarterfinal against Ghana in South Africa.

Suarez was sent off but Asamoah Gyan missed the spot-kick and Uruguay progressed to the semifinals following a penalty shootout.

Tabarez, however, insists dirty tricks are no longer a part of Uruguay's game.

"We have many fair play awards and this proves we have good conduct in our team,'' said Tabarez, who is now in his second spell as Uruguay boss.

"Remember football is played by human beings. We need humility to accept we make mistakes.

"We know who we are and the image we want to project. It's not possible to speak of things that happened four years ago. We need to concentrate in the future.''

Uruguay will be without captain Diego Lugano, who has a knee injury, for the England clash.

Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates could replace Lugano, who was recently released by West Brom.

Tabarez refused to reveal who would skipper Uruguay in Lugano's absence, but Suarez has captained the side in the past.

"The captain must be a leader and must be accepted by his teammates,'' Tabarez said. "Fortunately I have several candidates to replace Diego but that's something I will tell you on Thursday.''

Just after Uruguay lost 3-1 to Costa Rica on Saturday, England fell to Italy 2-1 in Manaus.

Tabarez was impressed with England's attacking display but he feels that does not necessarily mean they will put on a repeat performance in Sao Paulo.

"They played well but it doesn't mean they will play the same against Uruguay,'' he said.

"They have four very good, wonderful attacking players who are very fast, and are more than able to score.

"They were very direct and pragmatic. They are able to organise wonderful plays very fast.''

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has warned England that Uruguay are up for the match.

"If you want to win against us you have to fight,'' Cavani said. "We have the tools to react. We are ready to face this situation. We have overcome similar situations before.''

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