Luis Suarez says he is a “perfectionist” but the Uruguay forward believes his form is on an upward curve ahead of a World Cup last-16 showdown with Portugal.
Suarez had a tough start to Russia 2018, drawing a blank in a flat performance as Oscar Tabarez’s men edged past Egypt 1-0 in their opening Group A game.
Yet the Barcelona striker bounced back by hitting the winner to down Saudi Arabia before finding the net again in a 3-0 win over Russia, as Uruguay headed into the knockout rounds with maximum points.
“I am a lot better than in the first game,” Suarez told reporters ahead of facing Portugal on Saturday. “On a personal level, I am very much a perfectionist.
“After games I always look back at what happened, talk to my team-mates, with the coach.
“I know what we are playing for tomorrow, the last 16 of the World Cup against the European champions.
“We are fully motivated and we have to be calm knowing that if it goes wrong then we have given everything.”
5 – All five of Uruguay’s goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored from set-pieces (3 from corners, 1 from direct free-kick and 1 from indirect free-kick). Planning. #WorldCup #PORURU #URU pic.twitter.com/5XzZjvTXnF
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) June 29, 2018
Topping Group A ahead of hosts Russia means Uruguay have avoided a clash with 2010 champions Spain, where Suarez could have gone up against club colleagues including Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba.
“Our mentality is always to win,” Suarez said. “During the group stage there was talk of what [place in the group] would be best but we didn’t do that, we always wanted to finish first.”
Although Uruguay’s success has been built on defensive resilience encapsulated by captain Diego Godin, the combination of Suarez and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani is one of the World Cup’s most dangerous forward pairings in the competition.
“We have known each other for a long time and have played together for over 10 years in the national team,” Suarez said of Cavani.
“We are fighting for the same country and doing the best for the team, so we try and help each other as much as possible.
“We are not aiming for personal objectives but for the national team to get as far as possible.”