Luis Suarez will sit out Uruguay’s World Cup opener against Costa Rica on Saturday, although the Liverpool forward’s recovery from knee surgery remains on track, Goal.com reports.
Suarez damaged the meniscus in his left knee in training in the build-up to the Brazil showpiece and was always facing a race against time to be fit for the game in Fortaleza, Robin Bairner writes from Fortaleza.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez confirmed on Friday his star striker would not make it even if "all goes well" in training.
He added: "The doctor said he wasn’t ruled out for the World Cup, that was his first report. That’s why he’s in the squad.
"We are increasing his pace of recovery and up until now there have been no glitches.
"Yesterday afternoon he trained fully, and actually played football. There are no problems at all. But, obviously, he’s not at the level demanded in a full match.”
Tabarez would rather Suarez missed the Costa Rica game than jeopardise his participation in the trickier Group D games to come, against England and Italy.
He added: “We don’t want to jump the gun, but we have prepared without Luis. But we have to be very careful. We have to think about the players.
“He is recovering very well, but we have to be very careful and manage things carefully.”
Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and Cerezo Osaka's Diego Forlan are set to lead the line in Saturday's encounter, which Tabarez believes could be key to launching his side towards an even stronger showing than their third-placed finish in 2010, according to the Goal.com report.
"My team has evolved a great deal, not only in terms of matches but also in terms of performance in tough leagues," he explained.
"They’re at their prime, 26 or 27-years-old, and most of the players have won titles. At the South Africa World Cup, some of these guys were only 22 or 23, they’ve evolved, not only because of time but because of what they’ve done since."
Although Uruguay had to qualify for Brazil via a playoff, the coach believes this is "not important" on the eve of his third World Cup experience and is focusing on a simplistic approach to his side’s play.
"We don’t want to complicate manners. We want to play in a straightforward manner and capitalise on the time we’ve had together. I believe I have a very good squad and I’m going to use my players according to circumstances."