Suarez punches dugout; Uruguay play down tantrum

Matt Stead

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez moved to play down Luis Suarez’s apparent tantrum on Thursday.

Suarez was seen punching the dugout and throwing a football boot onto the pitch as Uruguay were knocked out of the Copa America after a 1-0 defeat to Venezuela.

The Barcelona forward was not named among the official list of substitutes, but was seen warming up in the second half as Uruguay chased what would have been a crucial equaliser.

The former Liverpool man then pounded his fist on the dugout in frustration, and threw a football bib to the ground as he complained to staff members.

Discussing the incident after the game, Tabarez claimed that there was “no situation”, and that the 29-year-old is simply still struggling for fitness after injury.

“There is no situation. The situation is what I told you [on Wednesday]. The player is not ready to play,” said Tabarez.

“This is an issue about numbers and doctors. Even if the player is upset, I’m not going to play a player who is not 100 percent.

“If he got upset, that is something I was not aware of. He didn’t tell me anything.

“Eighteen days ago he had a substantial tear. We want Suarez when he is healthy.

“Luis was training with us. Today he had a day off not to force more onto him. Maybe he wanted to move around a little bit. He knows the coach has the final word.”

Venezuela’s 1-0 win, courtesy of a goal from West Brom forward Salomon Rondon, ended Uruguay’s Copa America journey at the group stage.