Despite the thrill of making a decisive assist and also scoring in Uruguay's opening match against Spain, Luis Suarez, like the rest of this team-mates, is still wondering how victory eluded his side last Sunday. "It was bad because we came so close to winning it. Over the course of the game, Uruguay had more goal-scoring chances," the player told FIFA.com after watching the highlights again. "However, the main thing is that we didn't lose the game, and that we're still in there fighting for a place in the last 16."
The Charrúa player will nonetheless have taken satisfaction from the game, not least because of his own performance. After setting up Edinson Cavani for his side's opening goal, Suarez then scored their second with a splendid drive from the edge of the area that flew over the Spanish keeper. "I'm happy to have scored my first goal at a World Cup, especially in the manner I did. It was a beautiful goal," he says, with the shy smile of someone not used to singing his own praises.
Indeed the 20-year-old seems more comfortable assessing his own shortcomings: "We sat back a bit after our goals, and I also think tiredness played a part. We were very isolated up front and weren't really able to hold up the ball. That's something we need to work on, but you'll see an improvement game by game."
A call-up from Tabarez
For Luis Suarez, 2007 has been something of a dream come true in terms of his international career. Not only was he one of the first names on the squad list for Canada, but last February senior team coach Oscar Washington Tabarez brought him into his side for the Celeste's friendly against Colombia. "It had been a dream of mine since childhood, and I was very grateful to the coach for giving me my chance. I simply cannot thank the players enough for how well they treated me," he says.
The player even manages a smile when reminded of the red card he picked up on his debut. "Yes... but there were just a few minutes left, and the coach said he understood what happened. It wasn't a big deal, and it was still a good debut," he says with a grin.
Experience and expectation
From the moment he began playing as a ten-year-old with Nacional of Montevideo, Suarez knew his future was in football. Now, one by one he is achieving the goals he set for himself, which included moving to Europe and appearing with the senior national team. "I'm getting there little by little," says the youngster who one day hopes to turn out for FC Barcelona.
He first came to the attention of European scouts back in 2005, after a magnificent season with Nacional during which he scored an impressive 12 goals. Dutch first division side Groningen subsequently tabled a five-year contract and the Uruguayan didn't hesitate for a moment.
"Things have gone well for me there. I've had a full year now and I can't complain, as it's hard for any young player coming from South America to adjust to European club football." His ten goals for the club, including one scored against Partizan in the UEFA Cup, are testimony to a good first season in the old continent. Suarez is also keen to thank his compatriot and Groningen team-mate Bruno Silva, who he says was an enormous help to him on his arrival.
"The European experience that myself, Cavani and Juan Surraco possess is important for the U-20 side," he says. "But don't forget many of the others in the squad are playing first-team football in Uruguay and have taken part in the Copa Libertadores. That gives us a lot of strength," he adds.
Suarez is also convinced that the team Gustavo Ferrin has built will do well in Canada: "We're confident we can go a long way. The team is very strong mentally, and I know that bit by bit we're going to achieve great things."