Playing in a loaded group that features past World Cup champions Uruguay, England and Italy, Costa Rica were not expected to make much noise in this tournament.
Cleary, Los Ticos have other ideas.
In a stunning comeback in their Group D opener Saturday at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Costa Rica scored three times in the second half en route to a massive 3-1 upset victory over 2010 World Cup semifinalist Uruguay.
DUARTE’S REDEMPTION: Just seven minutes after having a clear shot on net saved by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, Oscar Duarte produced one of the best goals of the World Cup. Getting behind the Uruguay backline on a Cristian Bolanos free kick, Duarte’s sensational diving header snuck just inside the far post and gave Uruguay a stunning 2-1 lead in the 57th minute – a lead the Ticos did not relinquish.
CAMPBELL GIVES BIRTH TO WORLD CUP MEMORY: At 21, Joel Campbell became the youngest player to score at this World Cup, tying the game at 1-1 after settling the ball with a great first touch and using his left foot to blast one past Muslera in the 54th minute. He then celebrated by putting the ball under his jersey – something Uruguay players probably could not do given the tightness of their shirts. And in the 84th minute, Campbell iced the game with a terrific through ball to Marcos Urena, who scored the team’s third goal.
SAVE OF THE TOURNAMENT: When Uruguay’s Diego Forlan – who earned the Golden Ball as the best player of the 2010 World Cup – took a 44th-minute shot that took a favorable deflection, it looked like it would almost certainly sneak into the back of the net. But, like an outfielder tracking back to catch a fly ball, Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas ran backwards while keeping his eye on the ball, before making a leaping, one-handed save – probably the best save of the World Cup to this point.
THE (AMERICAN) FOOTBALL TACKLE: What looked at first like a clear handball on Uruguay captain Diego Lugano was rightfully called a penalty on Costa Rica’s Junior Diaz, who wrapped Lugano in a bear hug and tackled him to the ground. Star striker Edinson Cavani then drilled the 24th-minute penalty kick to put Uruguay ahead, 1-0. Surprisingly, that lead did not hold up.
NO SUAREZ TODAY: After Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead, star striker Luis Suarez jumped off the Uruguay bench to begin warming up. But Suarez – who’s recovering from knee surgery – did not enter the match, and his status for Uruguay’s remaining group-stage matches remain unclear.
SEEING RED: Very late in stoppage time, Uruguay continued to unravel when Maxi Pereira was shown the first red card of the World Cup. The veteran defender will miss Uruguay’s next match Thursday against England.
Costa Rican international Gonzalo Segares took in the match at Saturday's Fire, Brews & Bites event... Celebration with Frank Yallop and Greg Cochrane!