Sao Paulo: Uruguay striker Luis Suarez said his two-goal match-winning performance against England in Thursday’s 2-1 win in World Cup Group D was the perfect response to his critics.
“I have been thinking about this, it was something I dreamed about happening quite a lot,” he told reporters. “I’m enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered, the criticism I received. This is for my critics. So here you go.”
Suarez scored with a clever first-half header and struck the winner five minutes from time with a trademark powerful shot. “Before the game too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years,” he said. “This is a very good time for me. I want to see what they think now.
“It was one of the best games I’ve played. It’s an amazing moment for me. Maybe a few days ago I thought this wouldn’t be possible.”
The controversial Liverpool striker had knee surgery last month and missed the opening game against Costa Rica, so he was also keen to pay tribute to his doctor Walter Ferreira. “If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here,” Suarez said.
Recalling his winning goal, Suarez, who has served lengthy bans in England for racially abusing and biting opponents, said he wanted to dedicate it to those people who had stuck with him.
“When I saw the ball I closed my eyes and kicked it for all the things I went through, for the people that supported me,” he said, his voice cracking. “And it went in. “Nobody could have imagined a match like this,” the 27-year-old said.
The man of the moment also did not forget his Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrad after his heroics.
“I told Steven Gerrard to keep going. He’s the best player I’ve played with on the pitch. This is an unlucky moment for him. I don’t like it when he hurts like this. I said ‘Keep going, forget this game, you’re one of the best’.
According to coach Oscar Tabarez, there would be only one leading man in his script— Suarez.
“If this was the script of a movie, it couldn’t have been better written for Uruguay,” Tabarez told reporters after their first win over a European opposition at a World Cup since 1970.
“This match for us was packed with symbolism and I think we proved we are not dead,” he added. “This brings at least a temporary breeze, gives us tranquility and lifts our self-esteem.”
Tabarez was full of praise for Suarez, who took advantage of slack defending to fire the ball past England keeper Joe Hart five minutes from time, having been restored to the line-up. “His teammates really love him, we all love him, he is a wonderful person and a very important player for our team,” Tabarez said of Suarez.
“This chance, this destiny, after I don’t know how long, we’ve been able to win against a European team and both goals were scored by a player who was unable to play a couple of weeks ago. So of course we love him and I think he loves us.”
Tabarez described England as a “fearsome enemy” with a lethal attack and confessed beating Roy Hodgson’s side gave him “big satisfaction.”