After their opening two games at this summer's World Cup in Russia, Uruguay's two 1-0 wins against Egypt and Saudi Arabia hardly inspired much confidence. Guaranteeing them a place in the last-16 nevertheless, the two-time World champions did revive some confidence with a resounding 3-0 defeat of Russia; Luis Suarez announcing a more definitive arrival at the tournament with his first-half free-kick.
It is with the Barcelona man that the Telegraph's Jamie Carragher believes Uruguay can rest their ambitions from here on out. Drawn against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in the round-of-16, Uruguay will need Suarez in top form if they wish to take their place in a quarter-final clash with France or Argentina.
Having spent two-and-a-half years with Suarez at Liverpool, Carragher's belief in the Uruguayan's ability has never been in doubt. Instrumental in Liverpool's closest run to a league win for a generation, it is isn't surprising that Carragher rates him as "the best striker in the world."
Yet, Suarez cannot be viewed in the absence of his misdemeanors; particularly those that have occurred at World Cups. In 2010 his diving handball denied Ghana a certain goal and a place in the World Cup semi-final. Four years later, he ended up being sent home from Brazil early after yet another biting incident; Italy's Giorgio Chiellini the victim on this occasion.
However, like many of those who have played alongside Suarez, Carragher retains a generally positive outlook when it comes to the Uruguayan - and it all goes back to their first meeting, seven years ago:
I recall my introduction to Suarez after he moved to Anfield in 2011. He kicked me in a training session at Melwood.
“This fella is a bit different,” I thought. I loved it. Then I kicked him back!
Alluding to his determination and fearlessness, Suarez was someone who immediately reflected all Carragher wanted in a teammate:
His skill was obvious ... but the most instantly reassuring quality was how he approached every game the same, whether behind closed doors or in front of 45,000 at Anfield.
Such was Suarez’s passion he would refuse two-day recovery sessions after a match. If the first team did not train as usual, he would join the reserves rather than head to the gym or for physiotherapy.
Not once while we were playing, or even in year after my departure, did I ever see or hear of Suarez missing a session or game due to slight injury. He would need a broken bone to miss anything, and even then would probably argue with the doctor about his fitness.