A day after the Netherlands throttled Spain to send shockwaves across the globe, viewers were treated to another stunner on Saturday thanks to Costa Rica’s 3-1 upset win over Uruguay in Group D play.
Although Luis Suarez was reduced to spectator due a recent knee procedure, Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay the lead many expected it to get when he scored from the spot in the 24th minute. However, the Ticos responded with three unanswered goals from Joel Campbell (54th minute), Oscar Duarte (57th minute) and Marco Urena (84th minute).
The three-goal performance marked the highest offensive production ever registered by Costa Rica in World Cup play.
While Costa Rica may have grabbed the headlines on Saturday, the biggest buzz came from the clash of titans – England vs. Italy. And befitting a match of such magnitude, one of the world’s most polarizing players scored the game-winner when Mario Balotelli headed it through in the 50th minute to send Italy to a 2-1 win. Prior to Super Mario’s strike, Claudio Marchisio gave the Azzuri the opening goal in the 35th minute. But Daniel Sturridge equalized in the 37th minute.
Italy’s stalwart between the sticks – Gianluigi Buffon – did not start the Group D tilt due to an ankle injury.
The day’s first match between Colombia and Greece in Group C certainly did well to whet the appetite of football fans across the globe. Two decades after Pele picked them to win it all at USA ’94, Colombia finally rose to the occasion on the world’s biggest stage with a 3-0 walloping of the Greeks. Colombia never looked back after Pablo Armero scored in the fifth minute, while Teofilio Gutierrez tallied in the 58th minute. James Rodriguez put the icing on the cake when he collected the third goal of the game in the 93rd minute.
The victory gave Colombia its first World Cup triumph since a 1-0 Group G win over Tunisia on Jun. 22, 1998.
Not to be overshadowed by the day’s earlier action, Ivory Coast secured a 2-1 comeback victory over Japan in the first primetime World Cup clash since USA ’94. In the second Group C match of the day, Keisuke Honda tapped the bottle and twisted the cap for Japan in the 16th minute, but Ivory Coast responded in rapid fashion after the hour when Wilfried Bony and Gervinho tallied in the 64th and 66th minutes, respectively.
The Elephants’ efforts were strengthened when Didier Drogba entered the match in the 62nd minute.
Sunday will see Swizerland and Ecuador (Group E) face off at 12pm ET, while France and Honduras (Group E) meet at 3pm ET. A clash between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Group F) caps the action at 6pm ET.