After a semifinal stint in the last World Cup, Uruguayan national football team is gunning for the gold with Luis Suarez leading the charge. On Saturday, Suarez and Uruguay embark into their first major test as they play Costa Rica (5:00 a.m Sydney Time) at Estadio Castelão in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Uruguay shocked the football world four years ago when they made it all the way to the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup. Diego Forlan served as the catalyst of that epic run, but it was the handball of the ever mercurial Suarez against Ghana that put them into the final four.
Suarez, who is coming off a scintillating season with Liverpool, will have all the opportunity to prove he's healthy enough to make a difference on the field after undergoing a knee surgery a month ahead of the World Cup.
"I want to tell everyone that the recovery is going very well and that the knee feels good. Everything depends on how things go day-by-day, but it is going well," Suarez said via his official Twitter account, according to the Telegraph.
"I want to thank you all for the messages of support I have received throughout the week and my mind is now focused on the World Cup."
However, coach Oscar Tabarez wants to be extra cautious on using Suarez in their opener against Costa Rica, as he looks to unleash his ace player in full force against England and Italy in Group D.
"His path from the under 20 side to now has been incredible, but first we just think about him as a person rather than a footballer and protect him. Then we can go step-by-step and we are getting closer to the dream that he will be with us," Tabarez said in an interview with the Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Costa Rica will try to make the match competitive despite missing key players in their lineup. Heiner Mora, Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio and Everton's Bryan Oviedo will all miss the tournament after failing to stay healthy during the warm-ups.
"Everything is ready for Saturday," he said. "We know what the team will be, the tactics we will use and also what we have to do during the game.
"There is a lot of motivation and, despite knowing that a point would be good, we don't want to settle and we will look for the three points."
Uruguay v Costa Rica, Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, Kick-off: 20.00 BST.
Uruguay (Possible, 4-4-2): Muslera; Pereira, Lugano, Godin, Caceres; Rios, Lodeiro, Stuani, Rodriguez; Forlan, Cavani. - Suárez (knee).
Costa Rica (Possible, 5-4-1): Navas; Gamboa, Umana, Gonzalez, Acosta, Diaz; Bolanos, Borges, Tejeda; Campbell, Ruiz.
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany).
Live Stream Information
Watch the live streaming match of Brazil and Croatia via the tournament's official site, FIFA.COM, orESPN and ITV. ESPN Radio will also provide audio streaming of the match while Gamecast and Stats are available on ESPN FC.