Uruguay’s coach, Óscar Tabárez, has confirmed that the captain, Diego Lugano, will miss their match with England through injury but indicated Luis Suárez would start, even if he was not 100% fit.

The Liverpool striker, who has been recovering from a knee injury and did not feature in Uruguay’s 3-1 defeat by Costa Rica, trained with the squad night in the Arena Corinthians.

Tabárez, under pressure after the surprise defeat in his side’s opening game in Group D, said Suárez had responded well to treatment and had been in full training for the past week.

“If he plays we must consider the possibility that he’s not as well as he was during the Premier League. Even when not 100% he is someone who can give a lot to his team. That’s what we’re considering right now,” said Tabárez.

He said the absence of Lugano, who played for West Bromwich Albion last season, would make no difference to their approach. Edinson Cavani, who will probably partner Suárez in attack, said Uruguay were prepared to “fight” to save their World Cup campaign.

“Our message is always the same. Any time we play a match against England, or any team, our objective is to defend our image and the perception the world has about us,” said the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

“We are difficult to beat, we have strong character and strong personality and, if you want to win against us, you have to fight. We have the tools to react. We are ready to face this situation. We have overcome similar situations before.”

Tabárez said that Suárez had always put himself on the line for the national side. “He has always improved himself and his career is wonderful, brilliant. He plays in one of the best leagues in the world and has overcome many different problems,” he said. “He is a very important player for us because of his technical abilities and his personality.”

The Uruguay coach was generous in his praise for England’s performance against Italy but vowed that his team would “fight until the end” in a match that players from both sides have likened to a cup final. “We have two games to play and two teams will meet, both of us need to win. One will stay in and the other has very little chance to continue. We know our opponents will be hard to beat but we have a chance,” he said.

“We’ve had similar situations, where we had negative results and we overcame the situation. It doesn’t mean we will make it but we know our team always fights until the end.”