MONTEVIDEO: Uruguay striker Luis Suarez will be going to the World Cup finals after a scare less than two weeks ago when he aggravated an injury and needed knee cartilage surgery.
Coach Oscar Tabarez named the Liverpool player, who was top scorer with 31 goals in the Premier League last season, in his 23-man squad on Saturday for the tournament starting on June 12.
Suarez, England’s Footballer of the Year, had suffered a knock during Liverpool’s last league match and Uruguay team doctors found he needed keyhole surgery.
He missed Friday night’s 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in a World Cup warm-up game at the Centenario and will also sit out Wednesday’s last friendly against Slovenia at the same stadium.
Uruguay kick off their Group D campaign against Costa Rica on June 14 before facing fellow former world champions England and Italy. It is unclear how soon Suarez will be available.
There were no surprises in the squad issued by the Uruguayan FA (AUF) with Tabarez keeping faith with 15 veterans who helped Uruguay finish fourth at the South Africa finals in 2010.
Suarez’s Liverpool team mate Sebastian Coates managed to play his way into the squad in recent weeks after recovering from damaged knee ligaments in August and missing most of the season.
The tall centre back, one of eight World Cup newcomers in the squad, returned to his first club Nacional of Montevideo on loan and played in the final weeks of the Uruguayan Clausura championship.
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad)
Defenders: Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica), Diego Lugano (West Bromwich Albion), Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Jorge Fucile (Porto)
Midfielders: Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paulo), Walter Gargano (Parma), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morelia), Diego Perez (Bologna), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo)
Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain), Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Christian Stuani (Espanyol).