Photo: Costa Rica
Costa Rica upset all expectations Saturday with a surprise 3-1 win over a stunned Uruguay in the Group D kickoff at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
With goals by Joel Campbell, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Marcos Ureña, the Ticos pulled off one of the greatest feats in its brief World Cup history. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was another hero of the day with some big saves at key moments of the match.
Costa Rica’s day of glory didn’t get rolling until the second half - they were trailing at halftime 0-1 thanks to a Lugano penalty turned into a goal by Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani.
The rest of the first half seemed in slow motion, possibly due to the oppressive heat in Fortaleza, above 30 C (86 F).
But everything changed 10 minutes into the second half when Cristian Gamboa raced down the right wing to capture the ball, centered, the Uruguayan defense failed to respond, Campbell took control and slammed the ball into the back of the net. Picture-perfect.
The Costa Ricans were overjoyed with the tie, but then came the knockout - the Ticos’ second score.
Taking a high pass to the Uruguayan area at minute 57, Gonzalez outmaneuvered Godin and the Uruguayan goalkeeper failed to react as his header went in for a score.
The icing on Costa Rica’s cake was the work of Marcos Ureña, who scored from the right side despite the Uruguayan goalkeeper’s desperate attempt at a save.
Uruguay, meanwhile, hasn’t had an opening match win at a World Cup since 1970 in Mexico when it beat Israel 2-0.