World Cup 2018

Tabárez refuses to be drawn on Cavani ahead of France clash

"I'm not going to say anything more about Cavani... Soon you will know who will play and who will be on the bench," the Uruguay boss said.

Tabárez refuses to be drawn on Cavani ahead of France clash
VASSIL DONEV EFE

Edinson Cavani was out on the training pitch on Thursday ahead of Uruguay's clash with France at the 2018 World Cup but Óscar Tabárez would not be drawn on whether the in-form PSG forward had recovered sufficiently from injury to have a chance of being fit for Friday's game in Nizhny Novgorod.

Cavani, 31, scored two goals in the Round of 16 win over Portugal, then limped off with a muscle injury and has been fighting to get fit in time for the showdown in Nizhny Novgorod.

Cristhian Stuani is likely to replace him in attack if needed, alongside the veteran Luis Suárez.

Cavani trained gently, but apart from the rest of the squad, in a session open to media at Uruguay's base just outside Nizhny Novgorod not far from the stadium.

"He's a very important player for us and he was really playing very well. As soon as he got injured, he has worked hard to recover and fulfil his dream," Tabárez told reporters.

"I'm not going to say anything more about Cavani, I don't want to get into games... Soon you will know who will play and who will be on the bench... Forgive me that you're not going to have all the information, as I have neither about the French."

Tabárez plays down nationality of match referee

Tabárez said he had given no thought to the significance of having a referee from neighbouring Argentina, Nestor Pitana, to handle such an important inter-continental match.

"It's a coincidence. But we've never won a game with this referee. But I don't want to start these games. It doesn't really matter if he's Argentine or not. He's a good referee."

Asked if two-time World Cup winners Uruguay could go all the way and match the successes of 1930 and 1950, Tabárez said he was only focused on Friday's game against a formidable team.

"We know what kind of country we are, how many inhabitants we have, our characteristics, our limitations," he said of the nation of 3.3 million people.

"We are never the favourites ... If we think about winning the World Cup, we need to keep that for private moments. If not, it is not good for our focus and our concentration."

In charge of Uruguay since 2006 and through three World Cups, Tabárez had warm words for hosts Russia.

"I think this is one of the greatest World Cups organised, and in my personal experience, it's the best ever."