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Uruguay’s sharp shooter aiming high

sports Updated: Jun 28, 2010 02:02 IST

AFP
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Luis Suarez has already made a name for himself in South Africa, producing one of the goals of the tournament to kill off South Korea and fire Uruguay into their first World Cup quarterfinal in 40 years.

The Ajax striker's delicious curling right-footed blast in the 80th minute of Saturday's last 16 clash earned the two time former champions a last eight date with Ghana, and for Suarez the man of the match award.

The second leg of a double in Uruguay's 2-1 win over the Asian side coming on top of his goal that saw off Mexico 1-0 in the closing group game also pushed him up to take a share of the goalscorers' chart in South Africa with three goals.

Suarez, 23, has established a formidable strike partnership with Diego Forlan, the Atletico Madrid forward, who has contributed two goals as well to Uruguay's haul of seven in their four games.

In an interview with fifa.com after Saturday's mentally and physically draining run out at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, Suarez discussed his superb second strike and smiled: “It was a good one, wasn't it?

“When I got on the ball the only option was to go for goal. I wasn't trying to put it there but the funny thing is I scored a similar goal for Ajax last year. I'm just telling you that so they don't say it was a coincidence.”

That wasn't the only goal he scored for Ajax last year. He finished the season with 45 goals in all competitions and was named Dutch Footballer of the Year. Luckily for Uruguay his prolific form has continued. Uruguay are living a dream.

Saturday's win earned the country of just three million a quarterfinal ticket for the first time since 1970, when they finished fourth. Winners in 1950 and in the inaugural World Cup which they hosted in 1930, the current crop of players are doing the sky blue shirt proud.

Suarez has come a long way since aged 11 he made the 500 mile trip from his home town of Salto to Montevideo to join the youth ranks of the celebrated Uruguayan side Nacional.

Internationally, in 2007 he starred for Uruguay at the FIFA Under-20 WC, helping his country make it to the last eight.

With South Korea now overcome Suarez believes the momentum behind Uruguay could prove unstoppable.

He said: “The 32 teams that came to South Africa with the aim of making the final, but then that number came down to 16 and now we're in the last eight. So our objective has to be to go on and become world champions.”