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  • Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica, World Cup Group D

Costa Rica comeback leaves Uruguay stunned

ESPN staff
June 14, 2014
Oscar Duarte steers home a header to give Costa Rica the lead © Getty Images
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Costa Rica registered the first huge upset of the 2014 World Cup with a stunning fightback to defeat heavily favoured Uruguay in Fortaleza.

All was going according to plan for Uruguay when they took the lead midway through the first half with an Edinson Cavani penalty.

However, Costa Rica's spirited play was rewarded on 54 minutes when Joel Campbell - who stunned Manchester United in the Champions League with a goal for Olympiakos while on loan from Arsenal in February - drilled home a shot from around 16 yards.

It got better three minutes later when Oscar Duarte bravely got in a diving header on a free kick to the back post and steered it back across goal and into the net past a static and bewildered Fernando Muslera in the Uruguay goal.

Campbell almost added to his tally with an audacious long-range effort later in the first half while Uruguay, who chose not to call upon Luis Suarez despite occasionally warmed up on the touchline due to his recovery from a knee injury, barely threatened to equalise.

The match was sealed with five minutes to go when Campbell played a sublime through ball to Marco Urena, who slipped a brilliant first-touch finish past the goalkeeper from an acute angle.

The result is a potential boost for both England and Italy, who were expected to battle it out with Uruguay for the two qualification spots from Group D. However, that script is now torn up and talk of Costa Rica being a factor only in terms of goal difference has been made to look short-sighted. Their remaining matches - first against Italy and then England - will be keenly fought affairs judging by this fearless performance.

Deep in injury time, Maxi Pereira was shown a red card for a fierce challenge on Campbell, meaning he will be suspended for Uruguay's clash with England on Thursday.

Uruguay were supposed to be the ones with the goals in reserve as they started with Cavani and Forlan, who had 57 between them even before the latter scored his 22nd in 63 internationals.

Suarez beats them all with 39 but it is not only his goals but the threat he poses and the runs he makes which usually give his nation the edge.

Without him Uruguay looked lifeless and lacking in ideas and that only served to give their opponents the confidence to believe they could get something out of the game and they duly did.

Yeltsin Tejeda, guilty of several reckless tackles in the first half, escaped sanction for a two-footed lunge on Cristian Rodriguez but he was punished from the resulting free-kick as Julian Diaz's challenge on Diego Lugano in the penalty area was more like a rugby tackle, allowing Cavani to slot home from the spot.

Costa Rica's response saw Campbell's audacious left-footed effort from 30 yards whizz just past Muslera's left-hand post and Christian Bolanos fire into the side-netting via a deflection.

Muslera also missed Rodriguez's inswinging corner but, fortunately for him, so did Giancarlo Gonzalez at the far post while at the other end Diego Forlan's deflected shot looped up wickedly and Keylor Navas only just got back to tip it over the crossbar.

For all Uruguay's supposed potency up front they were made to pay for not providing their feared strikers with enough chances as Costa Rica turned the match around in four second-half minutes.

Wing-back Cristian Gamboa's cross picked out Campbell 12 yards out and he hammered the ball unerringly past Muslera, who was helpless to keep out a diving header by Duarte who, moments earlier had missed a glorious chance for an equaliser from a carbon-copy Bolanos free-kick move.

Coach Oscar Tabarez sent on midfielders Nicolas Lodeiro and Alvaro Gonzalez to rectify the situation - Suarez's fitness meaning even this was not a dire enough situation to risk him - but it was Costa Rica substitute Urena who had the decisive say before Pereira lost his head late on..

Arsenal forward Joel Campbell celebrates his equaliser in memorable style © Getty Images
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