Luis Suarez isn’t at 100 percent health for the 2014 World Cup, but that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of putting Uruguay on his back with a sensational performance.
The Liverpool FC striker scored two goals in Thursday’s Group D game against England, including the game-winner in the 84th minute that came nine minutes after Wayne Rooney netted the equalizer. A draw or a win by Costa Rica on Friday would eliminate the Three Lions from the tournament.
Suarez also opened the scoring in the 39th minute with the game’s first shot on target. He took a cross from Edinson Cavani and sent a header past English goalkeeper Joe Hart at the right post.
Scoring important goals is nothing new for Suarez, who has tallied 14 goals in 24 games for club and country in 2014. His two goals against England gave him five in seven career World Cup matches. He’s also the South American nation’s all-time leading scorer.
Suarez entered Thursday’s game without having played in a competitive setting since Liverpool’s end to the 2013-14 Premier League season in early May, a span of 39 days. The 27-year-old forward injured his knee in a pre-World Cup practice and sat out Uruguay’s opening group stage game to Costa Rica in which his team scored one goal (from the penalty spot) in a 3-1 loss.
At less than 100 percent fit, Suarez was a nightmare for English defenders. He made quick, decisive runs toward goal and set up numerous scoring chances and corner kicks with his willingness to shoot from anywhere in the attacking third of the field. Even when England took away his time and space on the ball, he still found ways to move past defenders with shifty dribbling moves. It was evident from Suarez’s first touch of the ball that he was going to be hungrier and more determined than any other player on the field.
Uruguay will need more A-plus performances from Suarez if it’s going to advance to the knockout stages. La Celeste play group leaders Italy in its final group stage game on Tuesday, and depending on the outcome of the England-Costa Rica showdown, Uruguay may need another victory to reach the Round of 16.
But if there’s any player at the World Cup capable of carrying a team to victory by himself, it’s definitely Suarez. He lives for the biggest moments and thrives under pressure.