Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3: Three talking points
Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3: Three talking points as the Central Americans stun Oscar Tabarez's side
Costa Rica not the Group D whipping boys
Group D was seen to many as being a ‘Group of Death’, with heavyweights England, Italy and Uruguay battling it out for the top two spaces to advance into the last 16, but where does that leave Costa Rica? Their importance to the group should not go unrecognised – good performances against any of the other three teams could see them shape how the group turns out when all is said and done. Before Saturday, the masses will have seen them as the whipping boys of the group, the side placed there purely to take a battering and guarantee three points for the other nations. But their performance today showed exactly what the plucky underdogs are capable of. Joel Campbell was their standout man, a fearless forward who showed the Arsenal fans a glimpse of what they can expect from him in the future. Their defence was brilliant. A fantastic performance and a deserved result.
Picture the scene: You are Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan talisman who has just had a blazing season for Liverpool. You are in the ultimate form coming into the ultimate tournament, but then injury strikes and your chances of playing a part are struck an almighty blow. Obviously, the news of Suarez’s injury dealt the other sides in Group D a hefty lump of optimism, not that anyone really wants such a player to miss out on a World Cup, of course. But, never to be struck down, it seems that the hit man is back in business. The decision to start him on the bench was probably an easy one to make, but would they miss his fire power? Cavani missed an early opportunity and later scored from the spot but he would have been starting anyway, although Forlan, at the ripe old age of 35, looked like his years were finally catching up with him. The result shows that it was a costly mistake not to put Suarez on. The Uruguayan side lacked a moment of magic that only he could have produced.
Nobody seemed entirely sure what the penalty was given for – was it a handball or was Lugano rugby-tackled to the ground? From first glance the referee seemed to have given the penalty for a handball, in which case it would have been a continuation of the trend of awful decisions by officials in the early days of the tournament. The replay redeemed the man in yellow as it showed that Lugano was clearly fouled, manhandled in fact. Whether or not he gave the decision for the foul or the handball is irrelevant, he got the call right by hook or by crook.