Suarez — who has been in tremendous form for Liverpool with eight Premier League goals already this season — flew on a private jet to Amman for the first leg match that has captured the imagination of Jordanians hoping for an upset victory that could help their nation qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time.
The Jordanians are also excited about the possibility of being the only Arab side at next year’s tournament, with traditional regional superpowers Saudi Arabia and Iraq failing miserably in their qualifying campaigns.
“Jordan will be very motivated to play us, just as teams are when they meet us in the World Cup and the Copa America,” said Suarez. “We have to be careful. We know Jordan have fast outfield players and if you leave space, they could show their quality.”
Suarez scored twice against Fulham on Saturday but is not taking his club form for granted. “After the game against Fulham, it will be a big change because when you play with the national team it’s so different,” said Suarez, who along with Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani forms a lethal forward combination for Uruguay.
The South Americans are no strangers to the World Cup, having won the tournament twice, in 1930 and 1950. At the last event in South Africa in 2010, they finished a creditable fourth after losing to the Netherlands 2-3 in the semifinals.
The Jordanians are well aware the odds are stacked heavily against them, but that has not stopped them from getting into a celebratory mood, with even King Abdullah calling a live programme on Jordan TV to offer the team a financial incentive.