Luis Suarez scores on international return
Equalizer in 2-2 draw with Brazil
Banned since 2014 World Cup
England beats Germany 3-2 in friendly
Uruguay had to wait 20 long months for its favorite son to return to action for his country and true to form Luis Suarez did not disappoint by making a “dream return” in a vital World Cup qualifying match against Brazil in Recife.
Banned for nine games for his infamous bite on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, Suarez returned to score the equalizer in a 2-2 draw which leaves Uruguay on course to qualify for the 2018 tournament.
It completed a fine comeback for the visitor which trailed 2-0 after 26 minutes before fighting back to secure a point which keeps it second in the Conmebol group, three points behind leader Ecuador.
Brazil is third, level on eight points with Argentina and Paraguay but ahead on goal difference. The top four automatically qualifies.
Both Brazil goals for Willian after just a minute and Douglas Costa were set up by Suarez’s Barcelona teammate Neymar, the pair having a pre-match bet that the loser would buy the other a hamburger after the match.
But Edinson Cavani pulled a goal back for Uruguay to allow Suarez – named as captain by coach Oscar Tabarez – his moment of glory at the Arena Pernambuco in the 49th minute.
Alvaro Pereira set him free and Suarez scored with a low shot which Brazil goalkeeper Alisson could not keep out.
“It’s a dream return, because you always try to do your best for the team. If, like tonight, it helps the team get a draw, I go home happy,” Suarez told the official FIFA website.
“It was very emotional because of what I, and also my family, went through. I dedicate this to my wife, my daughters and to someone who’s now on high,” he continued in reference to the late Walter Ferreira, the former Uruguay physio who passed away in January this year.
Ferreira is credited with getting Suarez fit in time for the 2014 World Cup where he starred until the incident which gained him more notoriety.
Since transferring from Liverpool to European champion Barcelona, Suarez has been in superb form in the triumvirate of himself, Neymar and Lionel Messi.
He vowed before the match Friday night to take a “more intelligent” approach to his matches for Uruguay and lived up to the words, separating a frustrated Neymar and Jorge Fucile at the final whistle as tempers flared.
Neymar had received a yellow card for an earlier petulant kick at Alvaro Gonzalez, while another Barca player, Dani Alves, also earned a caution for a wild tackle on Pereira as home angst grew.
Suarez, who was netting international goal number 45, might have even grabbed three points with his shot turned away by the right foot of a stretching Alisson.
England stuns Germany
England, which was at the receiving end of Suarez’s brilliance in Brazil in 2014, has revived its fortunes since going out at the group stages and Saturday saw its new-look team beat world champion Germany 3-2 in a friendly in Berlin.
Boasting just 161 caps between them, England came back from 2-0 down to secure a deserved victory in a preparation match ahead of Euro 2016.
A mistake by England goalkeeper Jack Butland, who was injured in making a clearance, saw Toni Kroos put Germany ahead just before half time and when Mario Gomez headed a second on 57 minutes it looked set to be an easy win for the home side.
But Tottenham’s Harry Kane pulled one back four minutes later with a clever turn and shot in the penalty area and substitute Jamie Vardy showed the sort of form he has been displaying for Leicester City in the EPL by flicking home the equalizer in the 74th.
Vardy’s pressing set up Dele Alli for the winner, but the young Tottenham midfielder put the only blot on his copybook in a superb performance by blazing over with the goal gaping.
However, Ali’s blushes were spared by club teammate Eric Dier in injury time as he rose to head the winner from a Jordan Henderson corner and complete a stunning comeback.