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Uruguay coach: Suarez still doubtful for opener

(AP Photo/Bruno Magalhaes)

By DEREK GATOPOULOS

Associated Press

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is still unsure whether Luis Suarez will play in the team's World Cup opener against Costa Rica on Saturday, despite the striker joining in regular training for the first time since a knee operation.

The Uruguayans would start with forwards Edinson Cavani and veteran Diego Forlan, he said, if Suarez hadn't fully recovered.

"We are increasing (Suarez's) pace of recovery and up until now there have been no glitches," Tabarez said Friday.

"We still have one day to go. We don't want to jump the gun. We have prepared not to have him, but it would be wonderful to have him. We have to be very careful."

The 2010 semifinalists start their Group D campaign in Fortaleza before taking on England and Italy.

Tabarez said Suarez, who had arthroscopic surgery on his knee on May 22, had rejoined full training a day earlier, after practicing on the sidelines since arriving at their training base near Belo Horizonte.

On Friday, the 27-year-old Liverpool striker joined his teammates in their sleeveless training shirts during a casual practice session at Fortaleza's Arena Castelao.

"Beyond Suarez, I think we have a very good squad and use my players to deal with the needs that arise," Tabarez. "I don't want to complicate things. We'll play the way we always play, and make the best use of the time the players have spent together."

Uruguay has had no other injury problems; the single mishap reported so far was that some team members reported having ants in the their hotel beds after arriving in Fortaleza.

Tabarez insisted his squad was undaunted by an extra expectations due to Uruguay's World Cup history, the country having won the title in 1930 and again in 1950, when it beat host Brazil in the final.

A popular TV commercial in Uruguay shows a ghost wearing a sheet in the country's light blue colors terrifying bystanders in the streets and beachfronts of Rio de Janeiro.

"The ghost commercial was a publicity event, and it was popular with fans," Tabarez said. "But we are professionals and we will be totally focused on the opponents tomorrow ... There's no ghosts for us. Our results depend on our effort and our attitude."

Online:

Ghost TV commercial: http://youtu.be/VLb3yIRA8AU

Follow Gatopoulos at http://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulos

Updated June 13, 2014

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