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Tabarez coy on Cavani fitness for France World Cup clash

Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) (AFP) – Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has refused to confirm whether injured striker Edinson Cavani will play in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final against France, pleading for patience.

The South Americans have been sweating this week on the fitness of Cavani, who scored both goals in the last-16 win over Portugal but suffered a calf injury late on.

Doctors ruled out a muscle tear after a scan but said Cavani’s right calf was bruised and sore.

Asked if the Paris Saint-Germain striker would start in the eagerly anticipated last-eight clash in Niznhy Novgorod, Tabarez said on Thursday: “I think we have given enough information about Cavani’s injury.

“We have said what happened exactly and we have given documents to the press.

“I am not going to say anything else about Cavani because I already have given enough information and I don’t want to get into games. In less than 24 hours you will know who will play and who will be on the bench.”

“Some people are saying we are trying to play games, but we are not,” added the 71-year-old. “We want to play to win.”

Tabarez, who has been in charge of Uruguay since 2006, said he was not prepared to say anything else as it could help France, who he said were a strong side.

Cavani trained alone on Thursday at Uruguay’s camp in Bor, near Nizhny Novgorod. He was seen running and training with a ball but observers said he was still moving gingerly.

The South Americans are seeking to qualify for their second World Cup semi-final in three tournaments — they reached the last four in South Africa but lost 3-2 to the Netherlands.

Cavani’s absence would be a huge blow to Uruguay as he forms a fearsome partnership with Barcelona’s Luis Suarez — between them, they have scored five of Uruguay’s seven goals in Russia.

He is likely to be replaced by Cristhian Stuani or Cristian Rodriguez if ruled unfit.

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