SAO PAULO, Brazil - This past season, striker Luis Suarez tormented English Premier League opponents with his brilliance, goals and heroics for Liverpool. On Thursday, he made life miserable for the entire country of England.
In his first World Cup game since returning from left knee surgery, Suarez was at his magnificent best, striking twice, including the game-winner in the 84th minute, in Uruguay's dramatic, 2-1 Group D victory at Arena de Sao Paulo.
"I dreamed about these goals, I did,'' Suarez said. "The truth is I'm savoring this emotional moment so much because of all I went through and all the criticism I endured.''
Suarez's performance gave Uruguay (1-1, three points) a vital lifeline in its quest to reach the Round of 16, while England (0-2, none) teetered on the brink of elimination. A draw between Italy (1-0, three points) and Costa Rica (1-0, three) Friday would eliminate the English.
"Obviously, it's a very important victory,'' Suarez said. "We did what we wanted to do, what we needed to do. It was a crucial game. And we won. But we still haven't [qualified].''
Without Suarez, Uruguay stumbled in its first game, an embarrassing 3-1 loss to Costa Rica on its own continent. Suarez made certain there would not be a repeat, and he did it by exploiting a mistake by a high-profile Liverpool teammate.
In the 84th minute, captain Steven Gerrard, one of England's five Liverpool players, tried to clear a long punt by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. The ball glanced off Gerrard's shoulder toward his goal. Suarez ran onto it and beat Joe Hart with a right-footed shot from 8 yards, clinching Uruguay's first World Cup win against a European side since 1970.
"I was suffering from cramps more than 10 minutes before my second goal,'' Suarez said. "But something told me I couldn't leave the pitch.''
Suarez, 27, came off a season in which he was just about everyone's player of the year in England, tallying 31 goals in 33 matches before surgery a month ago. At no point did he give up on the World Cup.
"I couldn't play for a while,'' he said. "It was difficult for me. It was complicated. But at the same time [I never thought] I wasn't going to go.''
Suarez has been criticized often for getting into trouble. He drew a 10-game suspension last year for biting the arm of an opponent, and he was red-carded for stopping a Ghana goal with his hands in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals.
There was nothing of the sort Thursday.
"If this was a movie,'' Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said, "people probably couldn't have wished for a better result, at least in Uruguay.''
Suarez lifted Uruguay into the lead in the 39th minute. Edinson Cavani lofted the ball to Suarez, running to his right in the middle of the box, He got room on defender Phil Jagielka before heading the ball into the far left corner past a leaping Hart.
England's Wayne Rooney, who had two close scoring encounters in the opening half, finally found the range, slotting home a right-wing cross from an overlapping Glen Johnson to tie it in the 75th minute.
"We've come so close in two games,'' Hart said. "No one wants to come close. We all want to be on the other side of that line.
"We've given everything in terms of committing our lives to this tournament, there's obviously more we could have done. We could have played better.''