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Suarez Declared Fit to Face England

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With England's potentially decisive Group D match against Uruguay three days away, the South American side got a boost today with news that Luis Suarez is fully fit.

Laurence Griffiths

"He is no longer injured," said Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez, and one nation breathed a sigh of relief. Another will suddenly be a touch more nervous ahead of Thursday's match between England and Uruguay in Group D, now that Luis Suarez is officially fit to face off against England in what both countries will see as a must win game. Having both lost the opener, anything less than a win would mean losing control of their own destiny.

For England, though, hopes will be high, as despite losing to Italy the signs weren't all bad. Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson impressed, and chances were created, and on another night—or perhaps with a more more conscientious presence than Wayne Rooney on the left in front of Leighton Baines—a point or even three wouldn't have been unimaginable. For Uruguay, meanwhile, the situation isn't as promising.

"We have four days left before the game against England," said Tabarez, "and if he proves that he is in good form, we will consider the possibility of starting him. For us, Suarez is a crucial player." He is their most crucial player, and by some margin, the lone remaining bright spot in a side that has declined since 2010's World Cup—a side that without Suarez can lose to Costa Rica and have it seem less shocking than Spain's destruction at the hands of the Dutch.

Thursday's match will come four weeks on from his surgery to repair a damaged meniscus, the recovery time for which is commonly listed as being between four and six weeks. That he looks likely to play, then, shouldn't be surprising. Liverpool fans may fear his being rushed back, and certainly Suarez will be pushing to participate, but for a professional athlete under constant medical supervision there is a good chance his knee is ready to go.

Less certain will be match fitness, given Suarez hasn't played since Liverpool's final game of the season. The problem with his knee was spotted at Uruguay's first pre-World Cup session, meaning his light training sessions over the past week have been the height of his exertions these past six weeks. Suarez may well be fit, and that gives Uruguay a chance. He's unlikely to be match fit, though, maintaining England's status as favourites.