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    Uruguay

    Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez named his provisional 25-man 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ squad on Monday.

    Newcomers in the squad include Southampton midfielder Gaston Ramirez, centre back Jose Maria Gimenez and his Atletico Madrid team-mate Cristian Rodriguez.

    Also in line for their first World Cup are Lanus defender Alejandro Silva and forwards Abel Hernandez of Palermo and Christian Stuani of Espanyol.

    As expected the forward line includes the star trio of Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain) and Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka).

    Uruguay, surprise World Cup semi-finalists in South Africa four years ago, will face Costa Rica, England and Italy in Group D when the tournament commences next month.

    Tabarez also named three players on stand-by, who will not train with the squad: Andres Scotti (Nacional), Alvaro Fernandez (Gimnasia La Plata), Gonzalo Castro (Real Sociedad)

    Uruguay squad

    Goalkeepers:
    Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray/Turkey), Martin Silva (Vasco Da Gama/Brazil), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad/Paraguay)

    Defenders:
    Diego Lugano (West Bromwich Albion/England), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Martin Caceres (Juventus/Italy), Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica/Portugal), Jorge Fucile (Porto/Portugal), Sebastian Coates (Nacional).

    Midfielders:
    Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morelia/Mexico), Walter Gargano (Parma/Italy), Diego Perez (Bologna/Italy), Sebastian Eguren (Palmeiras/Brazil), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio/Italy), Alejandro Silva (Lanus/Argentina), Alvaro Pereira (San Pablo/Brazil), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton/England), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo/Brazil).

    Forwards:
    Luis Suarez (Liverpool/England), Edinson Cavani (PSG/France), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka/Japan), Cristian Stuani (Espanyol/Spain), Abel Hernandez (Palermo/Italy).

    * Squad lists are only official once they have been confirmed and published by FIFA on 16 May at 12:00 CET.

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    Uruguay's Suarez has knee surgery

    Luis Suarez has undergone minor knee surgery but has not been ruled out of the World Cup, the Uruguay Football Association (AUF) announced today. The 27-year-old injured the meniscus in his left knee while training with the national side, and after an MRI scan it was decided to send the player for a minor operation.

    Suarez's arthroscopic surgery lasted about 30 minutes and he is likely to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks but Uruguay officials remain confident he will be fit for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The South American's first match is against Costa Rica on 15 June before they face England in Sao Paolo four days later.

    "Yesterday, Wednesday 21st of May, Luis Suarez suffered an intense pain in his left knee after an undergoing a normal warm up," read a statement from the AUF. "He had an MRI scan which confirmed a partial lesion of the external meniscus of his left knee.

    "On Thursday morning, he underwent an arthroscopic partial resection of his meniscus in the Medica Uruguaya hospital. There was no evidence of any further damage to the knee. His participation to the World Cup in Brazil has not been ruled out."

    AUF president Wilmar Valdez suggested if Suarez's recovery went to plan he could return to training in just over a fortnight.

    "We know the surgery was a success and that the injury is not serious. We have to wait and see how he recovers," he told Uruguayan newspaper La Ovacion.

    "We had very little time to react and without knowing the extent of the injury, we didn't want to raise the alarm to the public. These are injuries that, considering Suarez's fitness and if the recovery is good, will not take long for him to return to play.

    "We have to calculate if he will arrive for the first, second of third (group game at the World Cup). We know that normally the recovery period, if all goes well, is around 15 days to return to training.

    "We all know what Luis represents to the national team and more so, considering the great form he was in. Considering how valuable he is to the national team, it is a big concern for us."

    Suarez, who was named the Professional Footballers' Association and Football Writers' Association player of the year after scoring 31 league goals, is his country's all-time leading scorer with 39 in 77 appearances.

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    Suarez: I'll be ready for Brazil

    Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez took to Twitter on Saturday to pledge to his team-mates and fans that he would make the FIFA World Cup™ despite undergoing knee surgery. The Liverpool forward and English Premier League's Player of the Year required arthroscopic surgery to repair meniscus damage in his left knee after a training accident on Wednesday.

    The 27-year-old now faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup, which gets underway in Brazil in 19 days time. Suarez says he is confident of recovering in time, posting a message in Spanish and English on his Twitter page: "My dream remains intact, I'll be there."

    The message was accompanied by a promotional video of Suarez alongside among others Argentina great Lionel Messi. His country's football chiefs are also upbeat about his availability, with Uruguay FA President Wilmar Valdez suggesting on Friday if Suarez's recovery went to plan he could return to training in just over a fortnight.

    Suarez had a brilliant season in England, his 31 goals lifting Liverpool into second place, pipped for the title by Manchester City on the final day of the campaign. Uruguay, the 2011 Copa America winners, are hoping to be able to pair Suarez with Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani in attack as they prepare to come up against England and Italy as well as Costa Rica in Group D. They open against Costa Rica on 19 June.

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    Uruguay positive on Suarez recovery

    Uruguay remain cautiously optimistic about Luis Suarez's participation in the FIFA World Cup™ as the Liverpool striker continues his rehabilitation from a minor knee operation. The 27-year-old underwent keyhole surgery on Thursday to repair damage to the meniscus in his left knee, which immediately put his participation in Brazil in doubt.

    Uruguay would not rule out the country's all-time leading scorer of the tournament immediately after the procedure and team doctor Alberto Pan said there was nothing since to suggest they should change their opinion.

    "The core of the concept of his return was expressed in the initial statement made in the immediate post-operative period and we can happily say that Luis' participation in the World Cup is not ruled out," Pan told a press conference in Montevideo. "It is very risky to give exact dates.

    "We can not have absolute certainty or clear numbers but the postoperative period has been very good. Luis is not ruled out of the World (Cup), but you can not talk about specific times. Luis is very positive, I never heard a negative expression, and he says it is better every day. Today (Suarez) is painless (and) is working on fitness and supporting essentials."

    Suarez will continue his rehabilitation away from the main squad and national team coach Oscar Washington Tabarez said they would not rush him back. Uruguay play Costa Rica on 15 June before they face England in Sao Paolo four days later.

    "What happens with Luis will depend on the evolution of his knee," Tabarez told the press conference. "We have no doubt his enthusiasm and condition but our main concern is the health of the player. No acceleration of events are going to help" and their approach was "very cautious."

    In its original statement last week the Uruguay Football Association hinted Suarez's injury could have had its origin in a clash with Newcastle defender Paul Dummett in the final Premier League match of the season. That resulted in the defender receiving abuse from South America on social media but Dr Pan said there was no definitive opinion on what had caused the problem. "You cannot be sure that the injury is due to trauma to the last game of the Premier, there are no certainties," he added.

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    Forlan hoping for a fit Suarez

    Diego Forlan is willing Luis Suarez back to full fitness, even if it costs him his own starting place at the FIFA World Cup™.

    The former Manchester United striker, now 35 and plying his trade in Japan with Cerezo Osaka, has been thrust back into the Uruguay first XI after star man Suarez underwent knee surgery at the end of the English Premier League season.

    The Liverpool forward's progress is being monitored on a daily basis as medics assess what part he will be able to play in Brazil, where La Celeste face England in their second Group D game on 19 June, and Forlan hopes Suarez is cleared to play a full part.

    The 27-year-old visited his national team-mates at their training complex in Montevideo before the 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland and Forlan was heartened by his demeanour. "I want the whole team to be healthy and ready for the World Cup so I want Luis to be back and ready for that," Forlan told Press Association Sport.

    "That would be much better for all of us. Luis came to the training ground in the morning to see us. We haven't seen him for a week so it was nice to have him around again. He told us he is in good shape and recovering well and his treatment has been good. Everybody wants him to be ready."

    Forlan was replaced at half-time against Northern Ireland, having been denied twice by former Old Trafford colleague Roy Carroll, but believes the workout was a good primer for facing England.

    "It was good preparation because Northern Ireland play in the same style as England," he said. The England game is not more important for me because every game in a World Cup is just as important, but it will be a tough one."

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    Tabarez cuts Eguren, Silva from final squad

    Luis Suarez has been included in Uruguay's final 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup™ as he continues his recovery from a knee operation.

    The in-form Liverpool striker underwent keyhole surgery on 22 May after damaging the meniscus in his left knee and immediately doubts were cast on whether he would be fit for the World Cup. However, Uruguay remain cautiously optimistic that Suarez, who is said to be progressing well following the operation, will be able to feature in Brazil and on Saturday the 27-year-old was confirmed in coach Oscar Tabarez's squad for the finals.

    It remains to be seen when Suarez will be able to return to action, though, with Uruguay kicking off their World Cup campaign against Costa Rica in just over two weeks. England and Italy are the other two teams in a tough-looking Group D.

    The two players who have been cut from Tabarez's 25-man provisional squad are Palmeiras midfielder Sebastian Eguren and Lanus defender Alejandro Silva.

    Uruguay squad

    Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray/TUR), Martín Silva (Vasco Da Gama/BRA), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad/PAR)
    Defenders: Diego Lugano (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Martin Caceres (Juventus/ITA), Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica/POR), Jorge Fucile (Porto/POR), Sebastian Coates (Nacional/URU).
    Midfielders: Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morelia/MEX), Walter Gargano (Parma/ITA), Diego Perez (Bologna/ITA), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio/ITA), Alvaro Pereira (San Pablo/BRA), Cristian Rodríguez (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton/ENG), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo/BRA)
    Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool/ENG), Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka/JPN), Cristian Stuani (Espanyol/ESP, Abel Hernandez (Palermo/ITA)

    * Squad lists are only official once they have been confirmed and published by FIFA on 5 June at 12:00 CET.

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    Uruguay hopeful over Suarez

    Striker Luis Suarez has stepped up his recovery from a minor knee operation but Uruguay remain reluctant to comment on when he will be fit for the World Cup.

    The Liverpool forward underwent keyhole surgery on the meniscus in his left knee on 22 May but on Monday returned to the national team's training complex to continue his rehabilitation.

    Uruguay's first match at the World Cup is against Costa Rica on 15 June before they face England in Sao Paulo on 19 June, and team medic Dr Alberto Pan said there was no reason for the 27-year-old not to be named in the final squad for the tournament.

    "There is not much information, he is following the scheduled plan," Pan told a press conference in Montevideo. He is making good progress and within ten days (of the operation) he is in the (national team training) complex.

    "Today he will have more demands, we will do double time (training sessions) and on successive days elements will start with more demanding workouts without impact. I cannot advance the days (until Suarez is fit), he has to have a positive experience with smaller loads before moving forward.

    "But the evolution of Luis allows us to be optimistic and his nature also helps. He has all the psychological and physical conditions for a successful recovery but the only certainty we measure is progress.

    "From a medical standpoint Suarez is not ruled out and therefore is in the final list. We told (national team coach Oscar) Tabarez there was no contraindication to be listed.

    "We have an optimistic view on everything that is happening."

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    Cavani sets up Uruguay win

    Uruguay completed their preparation for the FIFA World Cup™ by winning 2-0 at home against Slovenia in Montevideo.

    With Luis Suarez still sidelined by a knee injury, it fell to Edinson Cavani and Christian Stuani to provide the goals at the Centenario stadium.

    Cavani headed the first from 10 yards in the 37th minute when he powerfully met a floated cross from the left delivered by Diego Forlan.

    Paris St Germain striker Cavani was involved in the second goal in the 76th minute too, when he took the ball away from Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and handed Stuani an easy task of slotting in.

    Uruguay line up with England, Italy and Costa Rica in Group D at the World Cup in Brazil. They start against Costa Rica on 14 June.

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    Muslera: Uruguay have never been favourites

    “Some goals are bigger to fill than others” is a popular saying in football, one that refers not to their physical size but to the responsibility that comes with the task of defending them, a factor determined by the history and stature of the team in question.

    As an heir to the likes of Roque Maspoli and Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, 27-year-old Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera can certainly relate to that little nugget of wisdom. A dependable mainstay of the side that achieved a memorable fourth place at South Africa 2010 and went on to win the Copa America the following year, Nando has been Uruguay’s No1 for the last five years, a fact that says everything about his importance to the Celeste cause.

    Currently preparing for his second consecutive FIFA World Cup™ as his country’s first-choice keeper, which begins with Saturday’s Group D opener against Costa Rica, the Galatasaray custodian sat down for an exclusive interview with FIFA.com and assessed his side’s chances at Brazil 2014.

    FIFA.com: On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you about the opening game against Costa Rica?
    Fernando Muslera: 11! What happened four years ago doesn’t come into it. Though everything was new for me then and though I’m going into this with a slightly different mindset, playing in a World Cup is the biggest thing you can experience as a player. You get almost as excited as you did the first time.

    When you read about players picking up late injuries, are you scared it might happen to you?
    No, not scared. That would be like thinking you’re going to have a crash every time you get in a car. You have to play without thinking about it, even if the risk is there and I hope no one gets injured. The only thing you can do is just focus being ready.

    In which way do you think you’ve changed the most compared to four years ago?
    I’m more mature, both on and off the pitch. I’ve learned to control certain emotions that used to get the better of me. I feel more composed now, though that’s also something to do with the team, which has got plenty of experience. There aren’t many people in the side who are making their World Cup debuts.

    Do you think Uruguay need to go out and repeat what they did in 2010 to prove it wasn’t a fluke?
    No. Because of that fourth place and the Copa America title that followed, Uruguay have generated a lot of expectation around the world, and we ourselves know it wasn’t a fluke. We can’t go to Brazil thinking we have to improve on that and reach the Final. The fans might feel we need to kick on and become world champions, but our first objective must be getting past the group phase.

    Would you like to predict who Uruguay might face on the road to the Final?
    I honestly wouldn’t. I’m not going to do that. If you stop to think about that, it stops you enjoying the moment. To be champions you have to beat everyone you come across and that’s no joke. I just don’t see any reason for doing it.

    Does it annoy you that Uruguay are not regarded as one of the favourites for the title?
    Not at all. Uruguay have never been favourites. I prefer to go to the tournament just like we did at South Africa, when we were the last side to qualify and few people gave us a chance of going through. This squad has always had a low profile.

    Four years ago you faced South Africa, Mexico and France, and now you’re up against England, Italy and Costa Rica. On paper, was that group tougher than this one?
    Though it was my first World Cup and I saw things differently, you have to say that this is a tougher group. Though there are no easy teams any more, which has been the case for a while, this group’s tougher than the other one because of the reputation and experience of the teams. When the draw was made, the first thing people said was: ‘We never have it easy’.

    Even so, Uruguay always seem to thrive on adversity.
    That’s true. There’s a little bit of that in Uruguayan people. When things get tough, we usually get going and rise to the occasion. There was a bit of that in South Africa, and I hope it happens again (laughs).
    Everyone always says that the first game at the World Cup is crucial. Is that a myth or a fact?

    It’s not a myth, I can tell you! The first game is vital, though it’s true to say that it’s not decisive. Costa Rica are not the underdogs in the group. They’ve got players in Europe, they’ve really come on and they’ve been a tough nut for us to crack in the last few years. They almost stopped us from getting to South Africa (Uruguay narrowly beat Costa Rica in the intercontinental play-off for the 2010 world finals).

    Which of the three goalkeepers you will face in the first round do you admire the most?
    You have to admire [Gianluigi] Buffon. This is his fifth World Cup! He’s 36 but he’s keeping goal like he’s 24. I’ve played against him and he’s brilliant between the posts and a great guy too. I’d love to play for that long for my country.

    Is it your ambition to be Uruguay’s greatest keeper of all time?
    (pauses) I work hard so I can give my very best. After that, it’s just a question of results and then the headlines that come with them: you can be the greatest, one of the best. I don’t work so that people can say nice things about me. I work so I can make my contribution to the national team.

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    Forlan back in training after illness

    Veteran Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was back in training on Thursday following a stomach bug that kept him off the practice pitch the day before. The 35-year-old had stayed in the gym and missed both Uruguay training sessions on Wednesday after waking up with a "digestive problem", the team's press office had said. The former Manchester United and Inter Milan forward, who picked up the Golden Ball award for best player of the tournament the last FIFA World Cup™ took part in stretching exercises alongside his team-mates during the 15 minutes training at the Sete Lagoas stadium was open to the media.

    Fellow striker Luis Suarez, who finished top scorer in the English Premier League with Liverpool, also trained but is not expected to be fit for Saturday's Group D opener against Costa Rica in Fortaleza. Suarez, 27, is struggling to recover from a knee operation he underwent on May 22 for a meniscus problem. Should Suarez miss out, Forlan's participation would be essential alongside Paris Saint-Germain's record signing Edinson Cavani.

    Another player who trained normally for Uruguay on Thursday was veteran centre-back Diego Lugano, who had also been struggling with an injury. It was the last training session before Oscar Tabarez's team were due to travel to Fortaleza later on Thursday.

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