Countdown to Brazil: Strikes, protests stain World Cup prep

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Luis Suarez's World Cup status is in doubt. (USATSI)

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Uruguay’s chances at advancing out of Group D were tossed into serious jeopardy with the news of Luis Suarez’s knee injury and subsequent surgery.

Recovery times vary anywhere between three weeks (which would make him healthy enough to play for Uruguay in their opening game against Costa Rica on June 14) or 10 weeks. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Uruguay could likely handle its first group game without Suarez before facing England and Italy. His fitness, however, would likely be an issue.

While Thursday morning Uruguay's camp said that he hadn't "been ruled out" for the World Cup, the latest has his national team sounding a bit more optimistic. 

"We know the surgery was a success and that the injury is not serious. We have to wait and see how he recovers," the president of Uruguay soccer said. "These are injuries that, considering Suarez's fitness and if the recovery is good, will not take long for him to return to play."

Needless to say, it would be a massive loss for both Uruguayans and soccer fans in general if Suarez, the reigning Barclays Premier League player of the year, was forced to miss the World Cup. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and keep you updated with the latest on his status.

No sex, no red meat for Mexico's team: Yesterday we noted that Mexican coach Miguel Herrera had banned his players from having sex during the World Cup – a move designed to keep their focus on football.

That’s not all he banned, though.

For the past month, prospective national team players were told by Herrera to avoid eating red meat for fear of testing positive for the PED clenbuterol.

Five Mexican players were temporarily suspended in 2011 during the Gold Cup after testing positive for the drug, which is used to fatten up the cattle. Herrera’s not taking any chances this time around.

Strikes leave 2.5 million stranded: Those protests in Brazil? The ones that Pele has partially supported, while simultaneously criticizing the government’s lavish spending? Yep, they’re still going on.

Reports said that 2.5 million Brazilians in Sau Paulo were stranded after the city’s bus drivers staged a strike on Wednesday due to wage disputes. Last year, more than one million citizens protested the high cost of public transportation, but much of that money went to stadium funding.

To make matters even worse, numerous police forces recently staged a strike as well, reinforcing the growing unease ahead of next month’s World Cup. Tournament organizers claim there are contingency plans in case of violent protests during the World Cup. 

On a lighter note: This beach soccer goal from Brazil's Bruno Xavier is filthy.

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