Costa Rica caused a huge shock when they fought back to beat Uruguay 3-1 and lead Italy’s Group D.
It began in Fortaleza with Liverpool star Luis Suarez benched after a knee injury, so ex-Inter striker Diego Forlan partnered former Napoli hero Edinson Cavani. Parma midfielder Walter Gargano and Juventus full-back Martin Caceres also started for Uruguay.
Costa Rica were hoping to change their terrible record against La Celeste, earning only two points from eight previous encounters. There was no doubt Uruguay were favourites going in, having finished third in the last World Cup and fourth in the Confederations Cup.
Diego Godin had the ball in the back of the net with a trademark header, but only after the offside flag had been raised. Moments later, Cavani mistimed his volley off target.
The referee pointed to the spot when Diego Lugano was hauled down from behind by Junior Diaz as a free kick was whipped in. Cavani stepped up and buried the powerful penalty into the bottom corner.
Costa Rica fought back with a Joel Campbell rocket from distance that skimmed the upright and Giancarlo Gonzalez hit the side-netting. They had a great chance just before half-time when Fernando Muslera misjudged a corner, but the finish whistled wide.
However, Keylor Navas prevented Uruguay getting a second with his desperate save to flap a deflected Forlan effort out from under the bar.
La Celeste looked shaky on set plays and allowed Oscar Duarte a free header, parried from point-blank range by ex-Lazio goalkeeper Muslera.
It was a warning they did not heed, as Costa Rica snatched an equaliser when Gamboa chased down an unlikely ball before it rolled out of play and whipped in a cross from the right for Arsenal-owned Campbell to strike.
Incredibly, Costa Rica turned the game around completely. It was another free kick and this time Duarte’s brave diving header at the back post went across a stunned Muslera into the far bottom corner.
Uruguay were shaken and almost went 3-1 down, as Muslera gratefully watched a Campbell curler from 30 metres curl inches wide.
The more 1950 World Cup winners were stung into action, as Navas parried a Cavani attempt, then Palermo striker Abel Hernandez was introduced. Frustration got to Uruguay and Juventus defender Caceres was fortunate not to receive a straight red for his tackle on Gamboa.
Costa Rica kept their cool and consolidated their advantage for 3-1. Just seconds after coming off the bench, Marcos Urena ran between defenders on to a Campbell through ball and drew Muslera out to place the angled drive into an empty net.
Uruguay completed their disastrous night with a straight red card for Maxi Pereira, who hacked down Campbell in a cynical and ugly foul near the corner flag.
Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica
Scorers: Cavani pen 23 (U), Campbell 54 (C), Duarte 57 (C), Urena 84 (C)
Uruguay: Muslera; M Pereira, Lugano, Godin, Caceres; Arevalo Rios, Gargano (Gonzalez 60), Stuani, Rodriguez (A Hernandez 76); Forlan (Lodeiro 60), Cavani
Costa Rica: Navas; Gamboa, Umana, Gonzalez, Duarte, Diaz; Bolanos (Barrantes 89), Borges, Tejeda (Cubero 74); Campbell, Ruiz (Urena 83)
Ref: Brych (GER)
Sent off: M Pereira 95 (U)