Striker admits England boss' jibe that he was not world-class, steeled his determination to beat them
Sao Paulo: Luis Suarez admits Roy Hodgson made him more determined to beat England when he denied the striker was worthy of being called a “world-class” player.
Luis Suarez (centre) scores Uruguay's second goal against England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo on Thursday. Pic/AP/PTI.
Suarez put England on the brink of an early World Cup exit on Thursday night when he scored both goals in Uruguay’s 2-1 win in Sao Paulo.
Hodgson played a big part in firing Suarez up for the crunch Group D clash, it seems. After England’s defeat to Italy last Saturday, Hodgson declined an invitation to describe Suarez as a “world-class” forward who was in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He (Suarez) will only be at that level when he shows it on this particular stage (the World Cup),” Hodgson said.
Those words, and the constant talk about Suarez’s knee injury, made the striker more determined to make a full recovery and defeat Hodgson’s side. “It wasn’t revenge, but in England they talked about the injury and the coach had words that annoyed (me),” Suarez was quoted as saying on Uruguayan website Tenfield.
Brace on comeback
Suarez’s place in Uruguay’s World Cup squad was thrown into doubt almost five weeks ago when he had to have surgery because of a knee injury. But after sitting out the 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica, Suarez returned to the starting XI for the England game, with deadly consequences for Hodgson’s side. Suarez sneaked in behind Gary Cahill to score Uruguay’s first and the winning goal came after he capitalised on a mistake by Steven Gerrard, who accidentally flicked the ball straight into his Liverpool teammate’s path.
Suarez celebrated his first goal by hugging team physio Walter Ferreira, who he credits for helping him make a rapid recovery. Uruguay still face a tall order to qualify for the knockout stages because of their shock loss to Costa Rica last weekend.
Oscar Tabarez’s men face Italy in Natal next Tuesday and Suarez is targeting another three points. “This victory is very important, it is crucial,” Suarez said. “But we have not qualified, we have to keep our feet on the ground.”