Captain slow Lugano and the Ox out for crunch Group D game
Uruguay (13/5 to win) captain Diego Lugano has been ruled out of the big World Cup Group D battle with England (11/10), that could decide who progresses to the knockout rounds, with both teams losing their first matches.
La Celeste are 10/3 pool outsiders to qualify, with the Three Lions odds-on second favourites, behind Italy, at 10/11.
The 33-year-old Lugano, who was released from West Brom this season after failing to impress, suffered a knee injury and will have to watch the match from the stands, alongside suspended right back Maxi Pereira.
While it looks likely that Porto’s Jorge Fucile will come in for Pereira, national coach Oscar Tabarez will have to replace Lugano, who has been a mainstay in La Celeste’s defence since his debut 94 caps ago.
One of Martin Caceres, who plays centre back usually for club Juventus but on the left side of defence for Uruguay, Liverpool flop Sebastian Coates and Atletico Madrid teenager Jose Maria Giminez will come in.
La Celeste’s Football Association confirmed in a statement: “The AUF hereby informs that Diego Lugano has been ruled out for the match to be played against England on Thursday 19 June.”
“He has suffered pain in his left knee… which has intensified in recent days, preventing his proper sporting performance.
“An MRI scan has found no specific problems which would require surgical treatment. He will receive physiotherapy and his progress will be monitored.”
Tabarez, meanwhile, has confirmed that star striker Luis Suarez will play, and has hinted he will start, although may not be fully fit. “If he plays, we must consider the possibility that he’s not as well as he was during the Premier League season,” he said.
“Even when he’s not 100 per cent he’s someone who can give a lot to this team. That’s what we’re considering now.”
Roy Hodgson should have the same players available to him from his side’s encouraging display in the 2-1 loss to Italy, but will still be without Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“He’s not in contention for Uruguay but he will take part in the next full training session,” the former Liverpool boss said.
“At the limit, we could have taken a chance with him but it’ll be better to use the four days before the Costa Rica game to train with the team.
“His injury has responded very well to treatment and I don’t think we’ll put him into the firing line before he has some training sessions with the team.”