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‘Pura Vida!’ Costa Rica downs Uruguay in opener

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The Costa Rican national team surprised their Uruguayan counterparts with a shocking 3-1 victory at the Estadio Castelão in Fortaleza, Brazil to open Group D. The Ticos played an organized game with power and strength to defeat the Charruas. Costa Rica returns to winning at the world cup in Brazil 2014, their last victory being against China during Germany 2006.

Costa Rica hit the pitch at the FIFA World Cup with odds against them, but the Ticos went all out taking the game to the Uruguayans. In what looked like an even match in a stadium full or Charruas with the sky blue jerseys, the Central Americans had a constant attack coming from Joel Campbell. However, he was not accurate on his shots.

In the 22nd minute defender Junior Diaz took defender Diego Lugano down in the area on an approach by the celestes. Diaz had wrapped his arms around Lugano’s waist and the Uruguayan dropped to the group feeling the pressure. Edison Cavani took the shot from the spot and beat Keylor Navas to give Uruguay the 1-0 lead.

Diego Forlan was close to giving Uruguay the second goal of the match in the final minutes of the first half. He took the shot, but it rebound off a Costa Rican defender catching Navas ahead of his line. The Levante goalkeeper in Spain’s La Liga was able to send the ball over the crossbar to save his net. The game went to the break with Uruguay leading 1-0.

The second half began with the Ticos taking the initiative. In the 50th minute Oscar Duarte had the first shot on goal for Costa Rica on a free kick. Duarte beat his marker and headed the ball to goalkeeper Fernando Muslera who blocked but could not keep the ball. Duarte hit the rebound, but it went over the crossbar giving up a golden opportunity to even the score.

In the 53rd Costa Rica closed the gap. Celso Borges chased what looked like a dead ball to the line. He centered to Campbell who was unmarked. Campbell controlled the ball and fired to Muslera’s left to pierce the net. Costa Rica was on the board with a 1-1 score.

The Ticos turned the game around in the 57th minute on a set-piece. Duarte once again beat his marker and dove to do a low header leaving Muslera motionless once more. Costa Rica had taken a 2-1 lead over the two time FIFA World Cup champion.

Costa Rica delivered the killer shot in the 84th minute on a counterstrike. Marco Ureña had just entered the game and beat the defense on the run. He shot. Muslera dove, but the ball rolled past him into the net for the 3-1.

The frustration hit the Charruas and in the 90 +3 Maxi Pereira was sent off for a hard tackle on Campbell. The game ended a minute later with Costa Rica taking the victory, 3-1.

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