Darwin Nunez made his World Cup debut as Uruguay began their campaign on Thursday, with the striker living a dream starting next to Luis Suarez.
Before the tournament in Qatar, Nunez reflected on his call-up to the Uruguay squad as he exclaimed: “I always dreamed that this day would come.”
Thursday brought his World Cup bow, reprising his recent role for Liverpool as he started on the left of the attack, joining Facundo Pellistri in flanking Suarez up front.
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Uruguay against South Korea, though, with Diego Alonso’s side arguably the better performers but finding chances hard to come by.
Nunez toiled in his wide duties, showing some impressive skill and a drive to win the ball back out of possession, while he sent in some hopeful balls for the 35-year-old Suarez.
But there was a sloppiness to his play, too, with the 23-year-old recording the lowest passing accuracy of any player, completing only 55 percent.
Nevertheless, Uruguay took the point and can prepare for their next clash against Group H favourites Portugal, which will be a familiar tie for Nunez, who spent two years with Benfica before joining Liverpool in the summer.
Vestir esta camiseta, debutar en un Mundial, no hay palabras para describir lo que se siente.
A seguir trabajando por el sueño de todos! ??? pic.twitter.com/LC0yUIPgxl
— Darwin Núñez (@Darwinn99) November 24, 2022
Despite the result, Nunez was left awed by the occasion, taking to Twitter to explain that there are “no words to describe what it feels like” to debut at the World Cup.
“Wearing this shirt, debuting in a World Cup, there are no words to describe what it feels like,” he wrote.
“[We will] keep working for everyone’s dream!”
Nunez will almost certainly keep his place in the side for the meeting with Portugal on Monday night, with Alonso left to make a decision over his centre-forward.
Suarez looked a shadow of his former self leading the line, lacking the energy and urgency that made him such a success at Liverpool, and he was brought off for Edinson Cavani midway through the second half.
There is, of course, an argument to make for Nunez to move into the middle, though he has shown for both club and country that he can be effective out wide.