Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez spoke bluntly Wednesday about the health of star striker Luis Suarez, who has been recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered last month.
"He still hasn't finished his rehab," Tabarez said through an interpreter, "and until that happens he won't be used on the team."
Tabarez said he wanted the Barcelona standout to be healthy for World Cup qualifiers.
Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel said he had anticipated Suarez would play, but either way, the game would be a challenge.
A favorite to advance out of Copa America Centenario's Group C, Uruguay will have much at stake Thursday when it plays Venezuela at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field. The Linc will host three group stage games of the Copa America Centenario, a special edition of the tournament and the first to be held outside of South America.
Uruguay lost to Mexico, 3-1, in its first group stage game on Sunday.
The Venezuela game is "sort of a final game for us, and we are aware of what we need to take to that final game," Tabarez said. "We are going to wait calmly. Many times we have seen this, precisely in tournaments, in series where we have four teams per group, and we lose the first game and we are able to achieve and have positive results."
Uruguay defender Maxi Pereira said the game is a must-win.
"There's no other choice or we're going to be out," Pereira said through an interpreter.
Uruguay forward Christian Stuani said the team will reflect on mistakes it made in that Mexico loss in order to advance.
"We were able to come in in really good form in the second half," Stuani said Tuesday through an interpreter. "But it was an exhaustive effort. It took us a lot to get back in the game."
Venezuela, meanwhile, had been floundering until last week, when it upset Jamaica, 1-0, in its Copa opener.
Venezuela defender Wilker Angel and goalkeeper Dani Hernandez pledged Tuesday to play with the same intensity they displayed against the Reggae Boyz.
"Last game we took it to Jamaica," Angel said through an interpreter, "and I don't think they were expecting the pressure that we were putting on them."
Without a healthy Suarez, extra pressure will be on Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani, who has scored 28 goals so far in 2015-16.
Eyes will also be on Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin, a dynamic player who scored Uruguay's only goal against Mexico.
How is Venezuela preparing for the threat posed by Cavani and a strong Uruguay squad?
"More than anything, we must defend as a team," Hernandez said through an interpreter. "We need a great defensive performance to try and stop them."
Venezuela forward Salomon Rondon has proven himself a game changer, with nine of his 10 goals this season winning or tying games for West Brom.
Angel said Venezuela will not be counting itself out despite its formidable opponent.
"Everything is possible in a tournament like this one," Angel said. "All teams prepare at a very high level and anyone can beat anyone."