Uruguay stunned by Costa Rica

Uruguay stunned by Costa Rica
Uruguay stunned by Costa Rica
FORTALEZA: Costa Rica kept the World Cup upsets going on Saturday with a shock 3-1 win over Uruguay as England and Italy prepared for a heavyweight clash in the heart of the Amazon.

In yet another free-flowing, high-scoring match, minnows Costa Rica recovered from falling behind to an Edinson Cavani penalty to claim a surprise win at the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza.

That came just 24 hours after the Netherlands stunned and humiliated reigning champions Spain 5-1 in Salvador.

Uruguay, the reigning South American champions, looked to be on the way to all three points in the Group D opener after Cavani's first half spot-kick.

But Costa Rica roared back in the second half as Uruguay, missing injured Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, ran out of steam.

Two goals in three minutes from Joel Campbell and Oscar Duarte put the Central Americans ahead before substitute Marcos Urena added a late third.

Uruguay's Maxi Pereira was red-carded in injury time.

The win thrusts Costa Rica into contention in a group which also includes Italy and England, who play later Saturday in Manaus, the capital of the Amazon.
England's chances of scoring a first competitive win over the Italians since 1977 received a boost when Azzurri goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was ruled out just hours from kick off.

Buffon confirmed on Twitter he would miss the game, with Salvatore Sirigu taking his place.

"Life is great... and a missed match or another missed World Cup is not going to change my opinion on that!!" Buffon said.

In an earlier game Saturday, stylish Colombia shrugged off the absence through injury of star striker Radamel Falcao to hammer Greece 3-0 in Group C.

With Falcao watching from the stands, his Monaco team-mate James Rodriguez emerged as the star of the match, scoring one and setting up another for Teofile Gutierrez. Pablo Armero was Colombia's other scorer.

"We are capable of scoring goals and creating chances, which is a great thing to have," said Colombia's Argentinian coach Jose Pekerman.

"The important thing is that everyone did their bit for the team and that transmits confidence. We took our chances and knew how to play as a team."

Japan and Ivory Coast will contest the final game of the day in the coastal city of Recife at 10:00pm (0100 GMT).

As the tournament got into full swing, the shockwaves from Spain's record defeat against the Netherlands reverberated afar.

Spain's heaviest loss for 51 years was also the worst ever suffered by the defending champions at a World Cup.

Spain are now fighting just to remain in the tournament as they prepare for a difficult test against Group B opponents Chile next week.

Spanish goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas took the blame for what he called his worst night.

But Spain coach Vicente del Bosque leapt to the defence of his under-fire skipper.

"If a team loses it's not down to the performance of a single player," said Del Bosque when asked if he would drop Casillas against Chile.

"Defeats happen as a result of weaknesses in the entire squad, but least of all because of the performance of Iker Casillas," added Del Bosque.

Yet while Spain were left licking their wounds, football fans across the world have been cheered by the goalscoring spree seen so far in the tournament.

A dour competition in 2010 had averaged just 2.21 goals per game -- the lowest figure since the 1990 finals in Italy.

However the six games played in Brazil so far have seen goals flying in, with teams displaying a refreshing commitment to positive attacking play.

Former France and Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier told a press conference that positive play would be rewarded.

"I can feel it's going to be a World Cup with positive, open and attractive play," said Houllier, a member of FIFA's technical study group.

"It looks like teams are here to score goals."