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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup chit-chat: Suarez says he is 100 percent fit to face England

World Cup chit-chat: Suarez says he is 100 percent fit to face England

Last updated on: June 17, 2014 15:14 IST

World Cup chit-chat: Suarez says he is 100 percent fit to face England

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Uruguay striker Luis Suarez said on Monday he felt "100 percent" recovered from knee treatment and was ready to face England in Thursday's Group D showdown in Sao Paulo if called upon.

The prolific Liverpool forward's cartilage surgery went smoothly last month, but he remains short of match fitness and missed Uruguay's surprise opening 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica.

Coach Oscar Tabarez is staying mum on whether Suarez might start or come on for the game against England, who also lost their first match, 2-1 against Italy.

"I'm 100 percent, otherwise I wouldn't be here," Suarez told Uruguayan reporters at the team's training camp in Sete Lagoas.

"I knew it would be difficult (to be ready for) the first game, but if the proper time was left then I was going to be 100 percent afterwards. I've done everything I had to do.

"I'm training today with the team and I feel in good condition. I never lost the joy and the desire. I never thought I would miss the World Cup."

Given the importance of Thursday's game, with a loss for either side probably ending their hopes of progressing beyond the group stage, Tabarez may well gamble on playing Suarez.

Having terrorized Premier League defences all season, Suarez will have relished seeing a few frailties exposed at the back in England's 2-1 defeat by Italy.

"We hope Luis is fine and plays but if not, then it's up to the rest of us," Uruguay captain Diego Lugano said.

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Image: Luis Suarez (right) sits on the bench
Photographs: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

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'Meireles did not insult ref with rude gesture'

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Portugal have denied midfielder Raul Meireles was making an insulting gesture toward the referee after teammate Pepe was sent off against Germany on Monday, saying he was simply passing on tactical instructions from coach Paulo Bento.

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Photographs posted on Twitter showed Meireles gesturing with his fingers behind Serbian referee Milorad Mazic's back during the first half of Germany’s 4-0 Group G win.

"The Portuguese football federation (FPF) reiterates that there was no gesture directed to the match referee and regrets the speculation which would seriously damage the interests of the player and the national team," they said a statement.

"The FPF clarifies that the gesture, which has been misinterpreted, was directed at teammate Bruno Alves and merely indicated instructions from coach Paulo Bento.

"Raul Meireles was just explaining that he would drop back to the position of central defender, playing on the right of the defence."

The incident occurred after Portugal defender Pepe was shown the red card in the first half of Monday's game.

Pepe leaned into Germany striker Thomas Mueller with his head, making contact and applying pressure in a needless altercation that could bring him a stiff punishment.

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Image: A video grab that went viral on Tuesday shows Portugal's Raul Meireles directing a rude gesture behind the referee's back
Photographs: @soccerlife/Twitter

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Russia coach Capello bans players from using Twitter

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Russia soccer coach Fabio Capello doesn't have much confidence in his players' ability to always write "intelligent" tweets, so he decided the best thing to do was to ban them from using Twitter while at the World Cup, he said on Monday.

"I can tell you that tweets sometimes can be a nuisance if they are not written in an intelligent fashion," said the Italian manager, known for his discipline, before Russia's World Cup opener against South Korea at the Pantanal arena on Tuesday.

"To prevent such a nuisance, I'd rather ask my players to abstain for a month."

Capello said he was not keeping his Russian squad from communicating with fans and media, noting that he has regularly made two players available on a rotating basis for interviews in the run up to Russia's first World Cup finals in 12 years.

Capello wouldn't even drop his tough exterior when asked about celebrating his 68th birthday in Brazil on Wednesday.

"I never expect presents from anyone or anywhere," he said.

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Image: Russia's national soccer team coach Fabio Capello (centre) presides over a training session in the Pantanal arena in Cuiaba on Monday
Photographs: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

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Brazilian police arrest 14 in anti-World Cup protest

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Brazilian police arrested 14 people on Monday during an anti-World Cup demonstration near the stadium where Nigeria and Iran played in southern Brazil, local security authorities said.

A group of protesters destroyed windows of banks and stores after an anti-World Cup march of about 200 people was dispersed by police near the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, a spokeswoman for the state's security command center told Reuters.

In another demonstration in the northern city of Natal, protesters burned a U.S. flag a few hours before the United States' first World Cup match against Ghana. The small demonstration that was headed for the Estadio das Dunas where both teams are playing was dispersed by the police without any clashes, local media reported.

Protests by Brazilians angry about wasteful spending for the World Cup has lost momentum since the start of the month-long tournament on June 12. Last year at a warm up tournament hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest against corruption, poor public services and World Cup overspending.

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Image: Anti-World Cup protestors gather while attempting to march to Maracana stadium on Sunday
Photographs: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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