Injuries, how cruel they can be!

As two-time champions Uruguay stumbled to a shock defeat against Costa Rica at the World Cup, the thoughts quickly turned to a man who could have made a big difference to their fortunes.

Luis Suarez was on the sidelines on Saturday, when he should have been out there on the pitch, scoring those wonderfully innovative and sometimes impossible looking goals that have made him a household name in footballing communities world wide.

He certainly must have clutched his left knee a couple of times in desperation as Costa Rica fired in three goals to consign his team to a 3-1 defeat, their first ever reverse against their fellow South Americans.

In a group that also feature England and Italy, this was a match Uruguay needed to win but without their sharpshooter up front their options had vastly diminished.

Howmuchever threatening and forceful Costa Rica were in the second half, an Uruguay with Suarez would not have slipped up so badly.

The importance of Suarez to this Uruguay squad can be gauged by the fact that despite him requiring a key-hole surgery with days left for the World Cup, manager Oscar Tabarez still named him in the final squad. He may still make an appearance in the coming matches but how effective or lethal he might be is a big question, with Tabarez hinting his fitness was still uncertain.

And if he doesn't recover, a glance of regret will certainly be cast at his remarkable season at Liverpool, where he scored goals by the bucketful but suffered that late-season injury which threatens to be a heart-breaker.

The World Cup coming after gruelling domestic league seasons has always been a point of debate with players lacking in freshness unable to make an impact befitting their reputations. The scenes unfolding in Brazil are reminiscent of several instances in the past, when leading players have cried off with injuries.

Mind willing, flesh weak was the case, with even the strongest of wills not enough to speed up the recovery process. The mindset of a player in such a situation was aptly described by David Beckham in his autobiography, about the time when he famously broke his left foot just before the 2002 World Cup.

"My stomach lurched," Beckham wrote of the moment when Deportivo La Coruna's Argentine player Aldo Duscher came up with a reckless tackle, injuring his foot. "The pain was one thing, but in many ways, it was even more agonising to think about the World Cup. If my foot was broken with just eight weeks to go, I was pretty much finished."
Beckham did recover to play in Korea-Japan 2002 but many others haven't been as fortunate.

Brazil 2014 has already lost the likes of Franck Ribery to injuries, leaving France depleted while Portuguese fans are praying for Cristiano Ronaldo's full recovery despite the star striker assuring that he will be ready to shoulder the burden.

A Portugal team without the bounding runs, clever stepovers, fierce shots and powerful headers of Ronaldo is as good as an also-ran. Just as Portugal require his services desperately, the fans worldwide need him too, for the value he brings to the tournament.

Suarez, Ribery, Ronaldo, these are the kind of stars that bring sheen to a World Cup. The tournament needs them just as the players themselves desire and cherish a stolen kiss on the golden trophy.

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