Uruguay's fans gather to express solidarity with player Luis Suarez while they await his arrival outside Montevideo's Carrasco international airport. Picture: Carlos Pazos

Montevideo - Several hundred Uruguayans have gathered at Montevideo's airport to wait for the return of soccer player Luis Suarez after his banning from the World Cup for biting an Italian player.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was at the international airport at one point on Thursday evening, but returned home because Suarez's flight was delayed.

Because of the delay, the crowd of about 1 000 fans has been moved from the airport terminal to an adjacent air force base to await Suarez's arrival. They are waving the national flag and carrying banners criticising the international soccer governing body Fifa for the suspension of Suarez for four months for biting Giorgio Chiellini during a match on Wednesday.

Uruguay will now be without its best player for its second-round match against Colombia on Saturday.