Costa Rica upsets Uruguay, 3-1
Mogi Das Cruzes, Brazil
For a second day running, this spectacular World Cup left everyone in awe. This time, it was Costa Rica which produced a huge upset.
A day after defending champion Spain was sensationally routed 5-1 by the Netherlands, a small Central American nation with a minor World Cup pedigree came from behind to beat 2010 semifinalist Uruguay 3-1.
Uruguay appeared lost without its top striker Luis Suarez, who was sitting on the bench nursing a bad knee. Adding insult to injury, Maxi Pereira became the first player to be sent off at the 2014 tournament after he kicked Costa Rica’s best player, Joel Campbell, to the ground in the closing minutes.
In a free-scoring tournament, the goals continued to flow on Saturday, following the trend set by the Netherlands. And like Spain, Uruguay proved that four years can make all the difference at the World Cup.
Along with goals, a World Cup also thrives on upsets. And even though Costa Rica had already proven in qualifying it was a solid team, few would have counted on Uruguay to fold so quickly after Edinson Cavani scored the opening goal.
Costa Rica conjured up the spirit of 1990, when it upset Sweden and Scotland to reach the second round in its first World Cup. The 2014 team fought back and victory did not come against the run of play.
Diego Forlan won the Golden Ball title as best player four years ago, but at 35, he was a shadow of his former self and was replaced as Uruguay went looking for a way back into the game. But no one could step up to take over from the injured Suarez.
Compare that to Colombia, which showed off its new generation to the world.
With Falcao in the stands, Colombians were cheering 22-year-old playmaker James Rodriguez, handily called “El Nuevo Pibe,” or the “New Kid.” Rodriguez led his team and scored Colombia’s third goal, sealing his nation’s first World Cup victory in 16 years.
Italy 2, England 1
Mario Balotelli scored the winning goal with a second-half header.
The striker was left free by his marker Gary Cahill and nodded a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 50th minute.
Claudio Marchisio scored first for Italy, sending a long shot through a crowded area and past a diving Hart in the 35th. Daniel Sturridge equalized for England two minutes later, tapping in a cross from Wayne Rooney.
Colombia 3, Greece 0
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil
Colombia started its first World Cup campaign in 16 years in dazzling fashion. Left back Pablo Armero opened the scoring in the fifth minute when his deflected shot rolled past Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.
Striker Teofilo Gutierrez poked in Colombia’s second goal from a deflected corner in the 58th and James Rodriguez capped it off with a low shot in stoppage time after a slick backheel flick from Juan Cuadrado.
Ivory Coast 2, Japan 1
Didier Drogba came off the bench to inspire Ivory Coast to a comeback victory. Drogba, who had been carrying an injury, came on in the 62nd minute when his team was losing 1-0. The talismanic striker’s arrival immediately lifted the Ivory Coast team and Wilfried Bony and Gervinho scored with headers two minutes apart.