Uruguay still sweating on the fitness of top striker Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani remains a major doubt for Uruguay’s World Cup quarter-final with France after coach Oscar Tabarez refused to provide an update on the striker’s injury.

Cavani scored both goals in Uruguay’s 2-1 last-16 win over Portugal before being helped off the pitch by Cristiano Ronaldo after picking up a calf problem.

The Paris St Germain player trained separately from his team-mates on Thursday ahead of Friday’s last-eight clash with Les Bleus in Nizhny Novgorod.

Tabarez believes the media have been given sufficient information about Cavani’s condition and is unhappy about constant speculation and the perceived agendas of some journalists.

“We issued a press release explaining exactly what kind of exams he had to go through and nobody respected it. People started asking other professionals, people who are not here and don’t know what is going on,” said Tabarez at his pre-match press conference.

“I’m not going to say anything else about Cavani because I have already given enough information and I don’t want to get into games that are convenient for certain journalists who have a style I don’t share.

“In less than 24 hours you will know who will play and who will be on the bench.

“I’m not going to change my mind. We don’t want to create any doubts or rumours.

“I apologise, I am not telling you that information. I cannot give you all of my information as I do not get all the information from the French team.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, left, helped Edinson Cavani leave the pitch in Sochi (AP/Francisco Seco)

Cavani’s absence would be a massive blow for the two-time winners.

The 31-year-old has continued his prolific partnership with Luis Suarez in Russia, scoring three times to help his team record four successive victories.

Tabarez, who is set to take charge of his 186th game as national team manager and 21st at the World Cup, has been impressed with his top-scorer’s attempts to regain fitness.

“He’s very sad because he’s suffering an injury during the World Cup – he’s a very important player for us and he was playing very well,” added the 71-year-old.

“As soon as he got injured, he started working hard to recover.

“He is concentrating on his dreams and his hopes, and that’s what he’s doing right now.”

Tabarez is aiming to lead Uruguay to the semi-finals of the tournament for the second time following their fourth-placed finish in South Africa in 2010.

France, world champions in 1998, are also unbeaten following their first four games and will provide a stern test.

A semi-final against Brazil or Belgium awaits the winner, and Tabarez believes his underdogs can cause an upset.

Kylian Mbappe’s double helped France beat Argentina in the last round (AP Photo/David Vincent)

“We are playing against very strong opponents. French football is very strong in general but this team specifically is really, really strong,” he said.

“It’s not going to be easy and we’re not conceited at all but we don’t think it’s impossible; it’s difficult but not impossible.

“We’ll see what happens. There is a chance and that’s what we are going to focus on, that’s what we believe.”

- Press Association

 

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