Uruguay's Lugano fighting to be fit for semifinal
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano is struggling to be fit for his country's World Cup semifinal against the Netherlands.
Lugano injured a right knee ligament in the quarterfinal win against Ghana but was able to jog in straight lines during training Sunday, raising hopes he could be fit for Tuesday's match against the Netherlands in Cape Town.
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"It's complicated because the time between matches is so short now," the central defender said. "But I was lucky enough to be able to train and run in straight lines, which is very favorable."
Uruguay, the 1930 and '50 World Cup winner, is through to the semifinals for the first time in 40 years.
The defense has been a major factor in the team's progress, conceding just two goals in five games, but injuries and suspensions will mean changes for the semifinal.
Full back Jorge Fucile will definitely miss the match after receiving a second yellow card against Ghana, while central defender Diego Godin missed Friday's quarterfinal with a left thigh problem and is also a doubt.
Striker Luis Suarez is suspended after the last-minute red card he was shown for his handball on the line against Ghana.
The absences make Lugano's recovery all the more important.
"The risk of pain is the last thing on my mind," Lugano said. "Everybody wants to play in these games but the question is whether I'm physically 100 percent to be able to play a game at this level."
The defender, who plays with Turkish club Fenerbahce, said a balance had to be struck between his desire to play and his fitness.
"I have to be honest with the team and if I'm not able to play there are other players who can come in and do a good job," he said. "I'm doing everything I can to be fit and then the coaching staff and doctor will make a decision about whether I play."
Juventus defender Martin Caceres would most likely partner Mauricio Victorino in the center of defense if Lugano and Godin are unavailable.