Suarez and Cavani work their magic
It just had to happen that way. Uruguay never could have won the game 1-0. There was no chance. Why, you may ask? It's very simple: Uruguay needs to suffer to win. That's the way it has always been and that's how it will always be. Because that is what makes every victory so special for La Celeste: the feeling of having to fight until the last minute, to run after every ball even if your whole body says "please stop" and you know that your rival is better than you. When things get really complicated --almost impossible -- and the only way out is throwing your heart out onto the field, that's when Uruguay appears. That is "garra Charrua."
Uruguay's victory against England was exactly that way, the one every Uruguayan fan loves: the hardest. More than a way to understand football, it's how people from this country understand life itself. That is how the humble bus driver struggles to get by, how the salesman overcomes his difficulties and how Luis Suarez does his job.
Never give up. Suarez lives by that rule and reflects it on the pitch every time he plays. Today, the occasion was twice as special. You can only dare to imagine what he was thinking every time the booing came down the stands, or when his usual teammates and club rivals were chasing him. His severe injury, Roy Hodgson's and Paul Scholes' prematch statements, the defeat against Costa Rica, the need for the three points, they must have all been circling in his head at some point of the 90 minutes.
However, continuing to prove every single one of his detractors wrong, he had the last laugh. He didn't have a very active role throughout the match, but all he needed were two occasions in front of the goal. That was it. He had two and he scored twice. What Suarez makes look so simple is actually nerve-racking to every forward on the planet.
Yes, the whole Uruguayan team played a great match. Their defensive response to England's plan was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde if you put it side by side with the previous match. Every substitution that Oscar Tabarez made for this game was meticulously planned and the players had their roles well-defined and learned. A superb display by Alvaro Gonzalez, Egidio Arevalo Rios and Nicolas Lodeiro in the first half blocked the way for the Three Lions' attacks. Steven Gerrard couldn't get ahold of the ball and Jordan Henderson was a spectator for most of the game.
In the final line, the 19-year-old Jose Maria Gimenez played like a veteran and never showed any weakness or nerves at marking the likes of Wayne Rooney or Daniel Sturridge. On the right, Martin Caceres returned to his best version and Alvaro Pereira starred over at the left flank. Both of the defenders were so precise when deciding when to attack and when to stay and protect their goal.
Diego Godin, who acted as the captain, risked too much in the first half and the fear of being sent off was real after a hard foul on Sturridge. However, he managed to complete a great game, denying the four English attackers. Even so, the highlight of the defensive game must be for goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. He took no responsibility for Rooney's goal and he rushed out and made vital saves to help make Uruguay's victory possible.
In the attacking zone, it wasn't Cristian Rodriguez's finest display. But he still gave an important hand defensively and had his chance at goal. Christian Stuani came in from the bench in the second half, but his game was absolutely team-oriented and he didn't have the chance to stand out individually.
One man did stand out besides Suarez. It was Suarez's partner in crime and, probably, one of the most selfless strikers in the world right now: Edinson Cavani. He was simply remarkable. His physical display turns ridiculous if you get down to studying it. If Uruguay attacked, he was there, even to superbly assist Suarez in the first goal. If England attacked, he would go all the way to the box to help his teammates. If the ball was in the midfield, Cavani would run all over the pitch chasing the rivals and putting pressure on them. It was a truly all-around match for Cavani.
Finally, Suarez, whose performance was nothing short of magical. Like a magician who lulls you to sleep or uses sleight of hand, Suarez managed to disappear at times. Then in the blink of an eye, there he was on the end of a cross to head home his first goal, or at the end of a long ball from his keeper to bury his second goal in the back of the net. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka had front-row seats to the show for Suarez: "Now you see him, now you don't."
Now we'll see what Suarez and Uruguay have up their sleeve in their final game vs. Costa Rica.