Luis Suarez could be out of World Cup with knee injury
England's chances given a boost after news that Liverpool striker faces surgery
England's chances of making the knock-out stages of the World Cup have been given a huge, if slightly mean-spirited, boost after Uruguay striker Luis Suarez injured his knee in training and is now a doubt for the tournament.
The 27-year-old Liverpool striker must undergo surgery and will be out for several weeks. England face Uruguay in their second group game in Sao Paulo on 19 June, and Suarez faces an uphill battle to be fit in time for the clash.
According to Uruguayan website Tenfield, an MRI scan discovered that the striker had damaged his meniscus – a type of cartilage found in the knee joint – when he twisted his knee in training on Wednesday and he will undergo keyhole surgery today.
There is some disagreement about how long the player will be out of action. The Daily Mail puts the recovery time at between 15 and 20 days, but the Daily Telegraph says he will be out for between four and six weeks. When Fernando Torres suffered a similar injury ahead of the 2010 World Cup he was out for seven weeks.
A decision on whether to include Suarez in the final 23-man squad must be taken by 2 June, so Uruguay have little "wriggle room" says the Mail. "Any decision to include Suarez... would represent a sizeable risk," it adds.
Even if he does go, he will be rusty by the time the tournament begins. "At the very least, the procedure will cut down on his ability to train leading up to Uruguay's opening match at the World Cup, against Costa Rica on June 14," notes the Telegraph.
The news is a major blow for Uruguay, one of the tournament's dark horses, as Suarez is the "focal point of a Uruguay attack which also features Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan", it adds.
However, the news will be "welcomed – privately – within the England camp", says The Times, as Suarez's scintillating form this year represented a "serious threat to England’s ambitions in Group D". ·