Sensational Suarez!


We should have all had money on it really, Luis Suarez was always going to bite England’s backside and score against them.

Considering the Uruguayan had only just had keyhole knee surgery just twenty-eight days ago, the striker produced a phenomenal performance.

In the build up to the game all focus was on Wayne Rooney and Suarez. Both had a say in the game but it was the returning Suarez who would come out of the tie with most of the plaudits.

If you take-away all the stupid, somewhat unprofessional parts of his game; you can’t deny he is a world-class talent.

The Liverpool striker was the PFA’s Player of the Year and had taken so many Premier League defences apart last season. Roy Hodgson and his squad would have been fearful that a fully fit Saurez would ruin their World Cup dreams.

Then in May, the news broke that the forward had suffered a knee injury during Liverpool’s last game of the season and had just had surgery. The British press began to question his recovery time and even if he could make it to the World Cup what impact could he really have?

Against Costa Rica, Uruguay through away a one goal lead and would trail to the Central Americans by three goals to one. The world’s media and fans (particularly the English and Uruguayans) looked towards the bench. But nothing happened, coach Oscar Tabarez never called on the star striker.

That was it for many a pundit and fan, Luis Suarez wasn’t fit and Uruguay were a fading force.

Then the game arrived. Number nine Luis Suarez was on the team-sheet as a starter. But surely he wasn’t match fit or sharp enough to damage England.

As the game got going, Suarez looked ok, unlike Diego Costa during the Champions League final, he was fit enough to start. The twenty-seven year old was smart though. He wasn’t going to tear around the park like a headless chicken or chase down any loose balls that weren’t near enough his area of the field.

He would whip in a dangerous corner early on and that nearly caught out Joe Hart at his near post. His instincts and hunger were clearly still there.

Defenders Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill would take it in turns to mark the hitman and try and push him out wide or further up field. It seemed to work as the striker wasn’t having the impact he might have liked.

But that all changed on the thirty-ninth minute when Uruguay broke inside England’s half. The ball made it’s way left onto Uruguay’s other star-man Edinson Cavani. The PSG man was inexplicably given time and space on the edge of the box to cut inside, seriously why didn’t Glen Johnson get closer to him or show him down the left channel? The forward faked a shot before superbly clipping the ball over the top of a despairing Jagielka. The ball was a pin-point pass to Suarez who expertly nodded it back across goal and beyond Hart.

Bang! Uruguay weren’t a fading force and Luis Suarez was here at the World Cup and he was here for business not pleasure!

To be honest there wasn’t a lot in it between the two sides at half-time, save the goal. That goal was all down to the sensational link-up play between Uruguay’s top players, that is something England lack.

In the second half Uruguay would try to go for the kill but couldn’t score that fatal blow. Cavani went close but no cigar.

England would then fight back. Wayne Rooney had missed three decent chances and seemed to have the world on his back. That pressure was lifted on seventy-fifth minute, when the hapless Johnson managed to fight his way into the Uruguayan penalty area and fire in a low cross that found Wayne alone in the six yard box and the striker could tap-in.

England celebrated and Rooney finally had his fortieth international strike, plus more importantly his first at a World Cup.

The ‘Three Lions’ would then attack and attack the Uruguayans as the South Americans seemed to wobble, just like they did against Costa Rica.

At this time Luis Suarez was being seen less and less. We were told that Tabarez would hook him off on the seventy minute mark but as the game was so close the coach decided to leave on his talisman and hoped for a miracle.

Then ten minutes after England’s goal and five minutes before full time, keeper Fernando Muslera would punt a hopeful ball into the English half. Cavani jumped in front of England captain Steven Gerrard, that jump seemed to put off the England man, as he glanced his header back towards his own goal. That is when Suarez reacted before the English centre-halves and broke free in the penalty area. He took a touch to steady himself before smashing the ball past Hart and into the opposite top corner.

The South Americans went wild. Their king had come back to save them from elimination. He may not have been fully fit but he was certainly still instinctive and hungry enough to take his chances when they came.

Oscar Tabarez had seen enough and finally subbed his scoring hero on the eighty-eighth minute. The striker was overcome with emotion as he walked off soaking the adulation of the fans and his teammates.

Sure the final goal was full of irony. How many times have we seen Suarez run onto a key Steven Gerrard pass at Liverpool? Obviously this assist wasn’t meant. Gerrard was gutted after the game, so it was nice to see his club teammate Suarez console his club captain and friend.

It took those two chances to change the fortunes of both England and Uruguay. The key difference was Luis Suarez. Even if he wasn’t fully fit he still had more than enough to put England to the sword.

Again say what you want about the man as a person but you can’t question the footballer. Last night he showed skill, instinct, passion and determination. All qualities England have lacked at some point during this tournament.

It’s frightening to think he may only get better!

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