Uruguay fret over Suarez fitness for Confederations Cup
MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - South American champions Uruguay are worried Luis Suarez will lose match fitness during his 10-match ban for biting with the Confederations Cup looming in June.
Suarez is already suspended for Uruguay's South American World Cup qualifier in Venezuela on June 11 and they go from there to Brazil for the June 15-30 tournament.
The English FA handed the Liverpool striker the hefty suspension after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic's arm during the sides' 2-2 draw in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.
"The fact that he won't be playing, that he won't have matches for a long time, disadvantages him and us," Uruguay physical fitness trainer Jose Herrera said on Thursday.
"We're thinking of Luis for the Confederations Cup because, as is well known, he is suspended for the qualifier against Venezuela. And the Cup is little more than a month away, he could lose his physical shape," Herrera was quoted as saying by the Uruguayan daily El Pais's website (www.ovaciondigital.com.uy).
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez's staff hope Liverpool will release Suarez before the end of the Premier League season since they have only four matches left.
"We have to see if they want him to stay there training with them and playing some friendlies or if they will hand him over sooner," Herrera said.
Uruguay are also awaiting a verdict from world body FIFA over Suarez being caught on video punching Chile's Gonzalo Jara in a qualifier in Santiago last month, an incident missed by the referee.
Uruguayan FA (AUF) president Sebastian Bauza, who presented FIFA with the AUF's view of the incident in which Suarez reacted to aggression from Jara, was reported as being confident FIFA will close the case without punishing the striker.
The Confederations Cup, involving the champions of the six continents, World Cup hosts Brazil and holders Spain, is a of dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup.
The other nations taking part are Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, Tahiti and Italy, who qualified for Europe after losing the Euro 2012 final to Spain.
(Reporting by Felipe Llambias; Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires, editing by Ed Osmond)