Chile talisman Humberto Suazo looks set to play some part in his country's FIFA World Cup™ opener against Honduras tomorrow.
The Real Zaragoza striker, top scorer in the South American qualifiers with 10 goals, has been doubtful for the Group H clash in Nelspruit with a hamstring injury. The 29-year-old has trained this week and, although not match fit, coach Marcelo Bielsa has no doubts he is ready to return to action.
Bielsa, who led his native Argentina into the 2002 World Cup, said: "The player has been able to train over the last three days and he has been able to train fully 100 per cent. If you are asking me if he in the same shape as before his injury, of course he is not.
"But if you ask me is he healthy, yes. He is healthy and he can now assume the same roles as the other players. I would never risk putting an injured player into any match in any competition for no reason - but this isn't the case with Suazo, although he is not in the same shape yet as before his injury."
Chile have not won a match at the FIFA World Cup finals since they hosted them and reached the last four in 1962. They did qualify for the second round on their last appearance in 1998, but only on the back of three draws. Bielsa is not concerned by the weight of such a poor record but, with his side's entrance coming six days into the tournament, is keen to get started.
The 54-year-old added: "I think we have done all the necessary steps to prepare for this important competition without major difficulty, or just the normal difficulties at least. We are fine and we are ready to begin."