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June 15, 2014

World Cup Winners: Costa Rica, Italy, Colombia, Ivory Coast

by VOA News

Costa Rica came from behind to stun Uruguay, 3-1, in a huge World Cup upset Saturday in Brazil.

Uruguay had benched their star striker Luis Suarez, who is recovering from knee surgery.

The underdog Central Americans could not be stopped after the break when Joel Campbell slotted in a ball headed down by Celso Borges in the 54th minute.  Oscar Duarte headed in the winner, and substitute Marcos Urena added the third with six minutes left in the match played in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The Uruguayans' misery compounded in stoppage time when their defender Maxi Pereira became the first to be red carded at this World Cup.

In the other Group D match Saturday, Italy's Mario Balotelli headed in the winning goal as Italy topped England 2-1.

Claudio Marchisio scored first for Italy, sending a long shot through a crowded area in the 35th minute.  But England's Daniel Sturridge tied the score two minutes later.

Earlier, Colombia overwhelmed Greece 3-0 in Group C play to start the third day of World Cup action.

Colombians in the crowd in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, went wild after Pablo Armero put his team ahead with a shot to the far post about five minutes into the match.  Greece created a lot of scoring opportunities but was never able to capitalize.

In the last match of the day, Ivory Coast scored two quick goals in the second half to defeat Japan 2-1.

Didier Drogba came off the bench to inspire Ivory Coast in their comeback win in Group C action. Header goals by Wilfried Bony and Gervinho just two minutes apart in the second half sent Japan down to a surprising defeat.

On Friday, the Netherlands took revenge over Spain, crushing the defending champions and world's top-ranked team, 5-1.  The Group B game was a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final, when the Spanish beat the Dutch, 1-0.

Spain's Coach Vicente del Bosque said he could not find words to explain the defeat.

The first full day of matches in the world's premier sporting event began with Mexico's 1-0 win over Cameroon.  Later in the day, Alexis Sanchez helped Chile trounce Australia 3-1 in their World Cup opener in Cuiaba.   Host nation Brazil took a 3-1 win over Croatia in the tournament opener Thursday.

Brazil is seeking a record sixth World Cup title and its first since 2002.  The Brazilians are ranked third in the world, behind Spain at No. 1 and Germany in the second spot.

Other teams expected to challenge for this year's trophy include Argentina - Brazil's neighbor and fierce rival - along with European giants Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.
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