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World Cup 2014

Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3: Highlights, key battles, and what the result means

Published on Jun 15, 2014 5:31 AM
Uruguay's defender Maximiliano Pereira (right) and Costa Rica's midfielder Cristian Bolanos are seen in action during a Group D football match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 Fifa World Cup on June 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Amidst all the talk about the Group of Death, not much is said about Costa Rica's chances in Group D.

The Ticos are expected to be the easy meat, whipping boys, guaranteed three points... you get the idea. But the Central American country of just 4.5 million people staged the biggest shock of this World Cup so far with a 3-1 win over Uruguay. It's almost like Mr Bean knocking out Manny Pacquaio.

Costa Rica have never beaten their illustrious opponents in eight previous meetings but what a time to get that first win. And in South America, too.


- Uruguay controlled the first-half with their physical brand of football. Diego Lugano was yanked inside the box and Edinson Cavani scored from the spot in the 24th minute.

- Costa Rica mounts a brave fightback with two goals in three minutes as Joel Campbell's fiercely struck shot (54th) and Oscar Duarte's diving header (57th) turned the tables around.

- Campbell splits Uruguay's defence open in the 84th minute for Marco Urena to slide in the killer third goal.

- Luis Suarez, who was on the bench, was not risked even though Uruguay chased the game.

Key battle

Edinson Cavani vs Michael Umana

The Paris St-Germain striker, said to be worth £50 million (S$106 million), was marked by a 31-year-old centre-back, who plays in the Costa Rica league for Saprissa. Hardly a contest, right?

Wrong. While Cavani had the big-money salary, the hair and the pedigree, Umana played one of the games of his life to keep the superstar quiet as Uruguay punted direct balls up front in search of their big striker.

Apart from scoring a penalty, Cavani never had another sniff at Costa Rica's goal and that is all down to the sheer determination of the little-known Umana.

Man of the Match

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Campbell signed for the Gunners in 2011 but has been out on loan since due to work permit issues. Facing the combined might of Uruguay's two Diegos - Godin and Lugano, the 21-year-old showed no fear and ran them ragged with his speed, skill and powerful shooting.

He equalised for the Ticos with a striker's goal, controlling a cross from the right inside the box and hammering home. He could drift to either flank with ease to find space and he is a creator, as his deadly through-ball for Urena's goal showed.

Campbell is still very young but what he had just did against Uruguay will now be written in history books for eternity.

What the result means

Costa Rica are not in Group D as a vending machine that hands out three points. England and Italy will not want to underestimate this bunch of hardworking fighters.

As for Uruguay, they sat back against the Ticos and paid the ultimate price. They will need to rush Luis Suarez back for Friday's meeting with England in Sao Paulo.

Maxi Pereira's late red card, for a wild hack at Campbell, also means that Uruguay's first-choice right-back will miss the next two games against England and Italy.