Luis Suarez

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, left, embraces team physio Walter Ferreira, whom he credits for helping him become match-fit so soon after knee surgery. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The most important figure in Uruguay's victory against England on Thursday didn't score any goals or provide any assists.

His name is Walter Ferreira. He's the 62-year-old physiotherapist for the Uruguayan national team and he has spent the last month working on Luis Suarez's left knee. In Uruguay, they call him the "miracle man".

After scoring the first of his two goals in the 2-1 win against England at Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians stadium, Suarez made straight for the Uruguayan bench. He sought out Ferreira, embraced him and signalling to the crowd he urged them to appreciate his importance.

Suarez was especially grateful to Ferreira, to whom he expressed heartfelt thanks, when speaking to reporters after the game. Later he repeated his gratitude in a YouTube video, recorded in the Uruguayan changing room.

"There are people who know how crucial it was for me to have their support. If it wasn't for him [Ferreira] I would not have been here today," said Suarez, who despite suffering from cramp in the later stages, scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute.

"I cried a lot with him, because it was such a hard time, and complicated because of what he was living through as well, he made a sacrifice to remain with me the whole time," Suarez added.

When Suarez mentions it was a hard time for Ferreira, he knows what he is talking about, because the physiotherapist dedicated himself to the player, despite suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer. Ferreira completed his chemotherapy treatment just before the World Cup began.

"While my wife and my two sons are the most important things in the world to me, now this man is too, because of everything he did to aid my recovery, because 90 per cent of this is the work of Walter Ferreira," said Suarez, Uruguay's leading goal scorer of all time, who on May 22 underwent surgery on the meniscus on his left knee.