The trend continues – surprising results and plenty of goals, as Costa Rica open the matches of Group D with a stunning 3-1 win over Uruguay who were playing without Luis Suarez and held the lead through Edinson Cavani. A brilliant Joel Campbell equalized, followed by goals from Oscar Duarte and substitute Marco Urena to claim a 3-1 win, with Maxi Pereira sent off in injury time.
Luis Suarez’ injury meant he doesn’t start, and also meant he didn’t play as Uruguay used all their three subs in an attempt to get back into the match but left their biggest star and best player on the bench. Instead, an old, slow and simply not good enough Diego Forlan started and didn’t a single positive play, looking nothing like the player who lit up the previous tournament in South Africa.
Costa Rica were cautious at first, taking time to learn that this Uruguay side might have a scary striker but nothing much else. A silly mistake by Junior Diaz, grabbing Diego Lugano from behind gave Uruguay a penalty kick which Edinson Cavani converted. However, Uruguay stopped playing from that moment on, leaving too much space on the wings for the brilliant Cristian Gamboa to use while Christian Bolanos was incredibly dangerous with his crosses.
Uruguay went off the pitch at half time with the lead, but looked complacent and clueless from the moment the second half began. Joel Campbell showed that this last season at Olympiacos advanced him as a footballer, scoring the equalizer that stunned the Uruguayan team, knowing this was a must win match. They’re not used to being the one that tries to take the initiative, resulting in a confused formation and play in the following minutes.
Four minutes after Campbell scores off a Gamboa cross, it was Duarte’s turn to score with Bolanos providing him the assist. Uruguay struggled to create chances, while Costa Rica dominated the set pieces and kept finding space behind the defense thanks to the speed of Gamboa and the movement and skill of Campbell. Edinson Cavani got one header in the 69th minute that tested Keylor Navas, but that was the best Uruguay could do to try and get back into the match.
Costa Rica turned this into one of their biggest moments ever as a national team with a third goal as Marco Urena, only one minute on the pitch, took advantage of the slow and tired Uruguayan defense, connecting with a beautiful Joel Campbell pass to make it a lot more than a shocking win, but a dominant performance and a slightly humiliating afternoon for a team some considered as a candidate to go very far in the tournament. (Third goal)
Maxi Pereira became the first player sent off in the World Cup with a kick that was born out of frustration, resulting in a justified red card.