RIO DE JANEIRO – 2nd rd: Colombia v Uruguay
—- Oscar Tabarez has quit FIFA’s Technical Study Group in protest at the “excessive” four-month ban imposed on Luis Suarez. He will probably find himself out of his main task too if his Uruguay lose to Colombia in Maracana.
In a 15-minute statement delivered at a pre-match press conference, Tabarez savaged attacked FIFA for denuding his attack by Suarez a lengthy ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in their Group D tie.
Tabarez said he was resigning from his position on the analysis panel because he believed Suarez’s punishment was unfair. He also accused the English media of pressuring FIFA into making Suarez’s ban so long.
He said: “It is not wise or prudent to be in an organisation with people, those who exerted pressure to promote this decision and those who rendered the award, who managed procedures and values very different to those I have.
“Therefore, in the coming days, I will file my resignation to that position formally.”
Tabarez was pressed about the Suarez incident by UK reporters who attended the Italy match. He said: “The decision, obviously, is much more focused on the opinions of the media – the media who immediately drew their conclusions at the game – the journalists who concentrated solely on that topic at the post-match press conference.
“I don’t know what their nationality was, but they all spoke English. They concentrated on the history of Luis because of things that happened in the past. He was sanctioned, he complied with these sanctions, in the past.”
Suarez returned to Uruguay on Friday where he was given a hero’s reception by thousands of Uruguayans.
Uruguay may use Edinson Cavani as a lone striker with veteran Diego Forlan standing by to replace Suarez. Captain Diego Lugano could again miss out with a knee injury.
Colombia made eight changes for their final group match and will recall key players such as James Rodriguez to the starting line-up. Teofilo Gutierrez is set to lead the line even though Jackson Martinez scored twice against Japan.#
The absence of injured Radamel Falcao prompted coach Jose Pekerman to switch from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-2-3-1. This has offered more creative license to Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado, who have five goals between them in Brazil.
The only previous World Cup match between the sides was won by Uruguay in 1962, when the victors were coached by Juan Carlos Corazzo – the grandfather of current striker Diego Forlan.
Uruguay have also enjoyed the better of recent encounters, winning six of the last eight meetings. That includes Colombia’s most recent defeat, a 2-0 loss in a qualifier in Montevideo last September. Cavani headed the decisive goal.