After a missed and controversial handball put Uruguay up by one in the first half, Costa Rica completed a stunning comeback for a 3-1 victory in Group D World Cup play Saturday at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.
Costa Rica staked their second victory in the last four World Cups, with the most recent coming in 2002 in South Korea. It was also the first time Costa Rica notched three goals in a World Cup game.
Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell began the charge with a left-footed strike to the center of the goal in the 54th minute, and three minutes later defender Oscar Duarte completed a set piece with a header to the bottom right corner of the net off midfielder Christian Bolanos’s assist.
Placing an excellent through ball past Uruguay’s backline, Campbell also showed off his touch while connecting with forward Marco Urena in the 84th minute. Urena needed only to tap the ball with the inside of his right foot and crushed Uruguay in the process.
Likely frustrated following Campbell’s goal, Uruguay’s Walter Gargano’s bad foul on Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz led to a yellow card and resulted in the perfect position for Bolanos’s cross.
How the Uruguayan attack would perform without star striker Luis Suarez was a major concern for manager Oscar Tabarez’s side, and other than Edison Cavani’s penalty in the 24th minute, Los Charruas's worst fears came to life as they failed to generate any other real opportunities.
Cavani tucked his penalty into the bottom right corner of the net following a foul by Costa Rica’s Jynior Dyaz during a set piece. At first Costa Rica claimed Uruguay’s Diego Lugan committed a handball, but referees instead felt a push in the back by Dyaz was the culprit more than Lugan.
Tensions eventually spilled over into unsportsmanlike play during added time when Uruguayan defender Maxi Pereira earned the first red card of the tournament with blatant attack on Campbell.
Tabarez attempted to kick-start Uruguay’s attack by sending midfielder Nicolas Loderio in for Lugan in the 60th minute, while trying to protect Gargano from picking up another yellow by substituting midfielder Alvaro Gonzalez at the same time.
The moves provided little effect, and Uruguay’s need for an early victory was squashed prior to next week’s critical matchup against England.
Costa Rica now has some breathing room to work with ahead of a frightening matchup with Italy, but should goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s ankle injury keep him out again, Los Ticos could be in excellent position to gain control of the group.