Uruguay failed to overcome the absence of Luis Suarez as a shock 3-1 loss to Costa Rica left their FIFA World Cup dream in tatters.
With Italy and England completing a strong-looking Group D, Costa Rica were expected to be the whipping boys even with star striker Suarez – still recovering from a knee injury – unable to take the field in Fortaleza on Saturday.
The game went to script initially as Costa Rica’s defensive gameplan was ruined by Edinson Cavani putting Uruguay ahead from the penalty spot in the 24th minute.
However, the two-time world champions were then left stunned as their opponents counter-attacked with purpose and scored three second-half goals to spring a major surprise.
Joel Campbell and Oscar Duarte found the net in a stunning three-minute period, before substitute Marco Urena made the game safe in the closing stages.
With talisman Suarez seemingly too unfit to leave the bench, a stunned Uruguay were unable to avoid a loss that leaves their hopes of progression looking bleak. An injury-time red card for Maxi Pereira only served to compound their misery.
There were plenty of early warning signs as Uruguay struggled to break down their opponents’ 4-5-1 formation; the first time they did, Diego Godin saw his stabbed finish ruled out for offside.