Costa Rica were thought of as the least intimidating team in the Group of Death that is World Cup group D with Italy, Uruguay and England. Dangerous if underestimated, but not at the level of the three past winners in their midst, despite Uruguay’s struggles in qualifying. And Uruguay found out the “dangerous if underestimated” part the hard way in their first match, losing 3-1 in remarkable fashion.
With Luis Suarez on the bench, Uruguay took a 1-0 lead in the first half from a 24th-minute Edinson Cavani penalty after teammate Diego Lugano was hauled down in the box with an American football tackle. With that lead, Uruguay seemed to get a little bit too comfortable and Costa Rica took advantage in stunning fashion.
Then, before Uruguay could even process what had happened, Costa Rica scored again with a low header from Oscar Duarte just three minutes later.
Finally, Costa Rica struck one more unexpected blow with a goal in the 84th minute from substitute Marco Urena, who entered the match just a minute earlier. And to ensure the match couldn’t have gone any worse for the 2011 Copa America winners, defender Maxi Pereira was shown a straight red (the first of the tournament) deep into injury time for a sweeping kick at Campbell’s legs.
This marked the first time Costa Rica have scored three goals in a World Cup match and the first time since 2002 that they’ve won a game in the tournament.