FORTALEZA, Brazil, (Reuters) – Costa Rica pulled off the biggest upset of the World Cup so far, scoring three second-half goals to come from behind and beat former champions Uruguay 3-1 in their opening Group D match yesterday.
The result left Uruguay’s World Cup ambitions in disarray in this, one of the toughest groups in the tournament.
They face England in Sao Paulo next while the jubilant Costa Ricans, who have only once made it out of the group stages at a World Cup, travel to Recife to take on Italy.
The Italians will not take that match lightly. Costa Rica were every bit as good as Uruguay in the heat of Fortaleza’s Castelao arena and thoroughly deserved to win. Promising young striker Joel Campbell set them on the way, chesting down a cross from the right after 54 minutes and slamming home a low shot to cancel out Edinson Cavani’s first- half penalty.
Centre back Oscar Duarte then put the Central Americans ahead just three minutes later with a brave diving header at the back post from a Christian Bolanos free kick. Substitute Marco Urena completed one of most memorable victories in his country’s modest footballing history with a third in the 84th minute, silencing an army of sky blue-clad fans who had made the trip north from the River Plate.
To compound Uruguay’s misery, defender Maxi Pereira became the first man to be sent off at this World Cup when he was shown a straight red for upending Campbell with a nasty kick to the shin in stoppage time. The final whistle sparked jubilant celebrations from the heavily outnumbered Costa Rican fans.