Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly
New Delhi: Uruguay have been dealt a severe blow just three weeks before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Luis Suarez, their talisman player is set to undergo a surgery on his injured knee. This casts a doubt on the availability of the striker for the world football`s showpiece event. Uruguay kick-start their campaign on June 16, against Costa Rica.
Suarez finished the English Premier League 2013-14 season with 31 goals in 33 games, this despite him missing the first 10 games of the season through suspension. He was key to Liverpool`s revival this season as he managed to steer the club within a striking distance of their first ever league trophy in 24 years.
He terrified the Premier League defenses on his way to winning PFA Player of the Year, Football Association Writers player of the year, Premier League Golden Boot, Premier League Player of the season and also sharing the European Golden Shoe with Cristiano Ronaldo. Bloomberg even ranked him top of their Europe`s Most Influential Players list.
Just when things were looking great, the striker suffered this knee injury in training. The entire nation is hoping for Suarez to get match-fit in time for the World Cup. Group G may have been termed as this edition`s “Group of Death” but Uruguay is part of Group D – which has Italy, England and Costa Rica, making it one of the toughest.
Though Uruguay play their first match on the 16th, they might not need the services of Suarez to get by Costa Rica thanks to the available talents of Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. However, when the team takes the field against England on June 19 and Italy on June 24, the presence of Suarez is non-negotiable. This grants him a few extra days to recover and get fighting fit.
Given Suarez`s form, not only Uruguay but any team in the world, would miss his goal scoring ability. It is not easy to hit form immediately after a surgery, but for the sake of his country, Suarez will have to be at his best if Uruguay have to make it past this group.
The world audience expects every top player to be a part of this extravaganza, and without Suarez the tournament may well prove to be a dampener. Suarez is in a race against time and from the perspective of any football lover, lets hope he makes the finishing line in time.