RUSSIA (REUTERS) - Edinson Cavani's potential absence for Uruguay would be a severe blow to their hopes of beating France in the World Cup quarter-finals, according to his former club-mate and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
While striker Cavani battles to be fit after suffering a calf injury in their 2-1 last-16 victory over Portugal, Matuidi misses out for France at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday (July 6) because of one-match suspension.
The two used to be team-mates at Paris Saint-Germain before the 31-year-old Frenchman moved to Juventus last year.
"I worked with Edinson for a very long time. We have not spoken recently, but I know him well enough to tell you that he is a very generous man, who does not give up on anything, and I know that he will do everything, right up until the last moment to be on the pitch," Matuidi told a news conference on Wednesday.
"I do not know if they are bluffing (about the injury). That's for the Uruguayans to worry about. But there are injuries that can be quickly healed and others for which there is no miracle cure."
If Cavani does not recover, Matuidi believes Uruguay will be hampered.
"Uruguay without Cavani is not the same thing. You don't easily replace one of the best attackers in the world. It would be a handicap for them," he said.
"But their way of playing and defending, won't change too much I don't reckon."
Matuidi, whose caution in the last-16 win over Argentina ensured his non-participation against the two-time World Cup winners, reckons Uruguay will prove tough opponents.
"Not necessarily a nightmare, but a difficult match. They let in very few goals. But we are able to trouble any team, because we really have quality in attack. It's up to us to put ourselves in a position to bother them," he added.