Even If Luis Suarez Plays for Uruguay, England Must Focus on Their Own Game

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2014

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A lot is being made of Luis Suarez's knee surgery and whether or not he will be fit to play against England at the World Cup.

For me it doesn’t matter whether he plays or not. The outcome of a very tough middle tie against Uruguay will have much more to do with how England play, as well as with their approach to the game following the opener against Italy.

The fact is that Suarez will not be at his best when he faces England, if indeed he does take the field for that tie. He will not be in perfect condition, as his preparation now will not be ideal, and he is sure to be worried about his knee. It will prey on his mind. It will be a physiological strain, certainly something he would rather do without, and it is not a situation Uruguay wanted to find themselves in, worrying over their star performer.

No amount of rehabilitation or training will test it adequately. It won’t be truly tested until the adrenalin is flowing in match conditions.

Martin Mejia/Associated Press

It is a blow for Uruguay—there is no getting away from it. Imagine if the roles were reversed and Roy Hodgson were sweating out the fitness of Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard for such a vital World Cup tie. England have suffered long and hard in the past, as key players have carried metatarsal injuries into World Cup ties with disastrous results.

I think Suarez will be okay since the surgery appears to have been successful, and although this type of injury can take three-to-10 weeks to heal it seems it is not a serious procedure and that he will be able to play. The big question is when his coach will risk him.

The worry with Suarez, if should he miss the England game, is that it might be a risk too far, too early. That will deflate Uruguay more than it will give England an advantage.

I don’t know whether one player missing will help England that much. He could be 100 percent fit and still have a bad game.

Mentally it is going to play on Suarez's mind, so if he is going to make an impact against England, he really needs a run-out in their opening game to test it.

I have my doubts that he will play against England, but whether it is such a major advantage for England I am not so sure. The most important thing is that England get their game right on the night.


Glenn Hoddle is part of the star-studded ITV team for the World Cup. He is also one of Sky’s top pundits.  He is technical director of F30, which staged the highly successful Legends Cup. Read more from Glenn at ZapSportz.com.