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Costa Rica shocks Uruguay; Italy beats England in World Cup

  • England's goalkeeper Joe Hart fails to stop a goal by Italy's Mario Balotelli's during the second half of the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. The goal gave Italy a 2-1 win. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    England's goalkeeper Joe Hart fails to stop a goal by Italy's Mario Balotelli's during the second half of the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. The goal gave Italy a 2-1 win. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates with Italy's Marco Verratti (23) after Balotelli scored his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates with Italy's Marco Verratti (23) after Balotelli scored his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates after getting the ball past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, and Gary Cahill, center, to score his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates after getting the ball past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, and Gary Cahill, center, to score his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • England's Daniel Sturridge (9) scores against Italy's goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu (12) for England's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    England's Daniel Sturridge (9) scores against Italy's goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu (12) for England's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Costa Rican players celebrate after the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  Costa Rica won the match 3-1.  (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    Costa Rican players celebrate after the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Costa Rica won the match 3-1. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Spain's head coach Vicente Del Bosque greets his bench players during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.The Netherlands won the match 5-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    Spain's head coach Vicente Del Bosque greets his bench players during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.The Netherlands won the match 5-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

  • Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates after the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  Costa Rica won the match 3-1. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates after the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Costa Rica won the match 3-1. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas, left, Spain's Sergio Ramos, centre and Spain's Andres Iniesta react after the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.  The Netherlands won the match 5-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas, left, Spain's Sergio Ramos, centre and Spain's Andres Iniesta react after the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014. The Netherlands won the match 5-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

  • Colombia's James Rodriguez (10) celebrates with his teammate Juan Zuniga after scoring his side's third goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Colombia defeated Greece 3-0. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

    Colombia's James Rodriguez (10) celebrates with his teammate Juan Zuniga after scoring his side's third goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Colombia defeated Greece 3-0. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

  • Fans of Uruguay's national soccer team hug each other as they watch World Cup match between Costa Rica and Uruguay in downtown in Montevideo, Uruguay, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Costa Rica upset Uruguay 3-1 in the first game of group D of the Soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

    Fans of Uruguay's national soccer team hug each other as they watch World Cup match between Costa Rica and Uruguay in downtown in Montevideo, Uruguay, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Costa Rica upset Uruguay 3-1 in the first game of group D of the Soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

  • Colombia's Pablo Armero (7) dances with teammates in celebration after scoring during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Colombia's Pablo Armero (7) dances with teammates in celebration after scoring during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Uruguay's Maxi Pereira (16) tries to help Costa Rica's Joel Campbell (9) during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pereira was given a red card for the indident.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

    Uruguay's Maxi Pereira (16) tries to help Costa Rica's Joel Campbell (9) during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pereira was given a red card for the indident. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

  • Uruguay's Edinson Cavani (21) kicks a penalty shot to score his side's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Uruguay's Edinson Cavani (21) kicks a penalty shot to score his side's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • Colombia's Pablo Armero, right, kicks the ball at Greece's goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis to score his side's first goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

    Colombia's Pablo Armero, right, kicks the ball at Greece's goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis to score his side's first goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

  • England's goalkeeper Joe Hart fails to stop a goal by Italy's Mario Balotelli's during the second half of the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. The goal gave Italy a 2-1 win. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates with Italy's Marco Verratti (23) after Balotelli scored his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates after getting the ball past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, and Gary Cahill, center, to score his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • England's Daniel Sturridge (9) scores against Italy's goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu (12) for England's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Costa Rican players celebrate after the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  Costa Rica won the match 3-1.  (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
  • Spain's head coach Vicente Del Bosque greets his bench players during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.The Netherlands won the match 5-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
  • Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates after the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  Costa Rica won the match 3-1. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
  • Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas, left, Spain's Sergio Ramos, centre and Spain's Andres Iniesta react after the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.  The Netherlands won the match 5-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
  • Colombia's James Rodriguez (10) celebrates with his teammate Juan Zuniga after scoring his side's third goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Colombia defeated Greece 3-0. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
  • Fans of Uruguay's national soccer team hug each other as they watch World Cup match between Costa Rica and Uruguay in downtown in Montevideo, Uruguay, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Costa Rica upset Uruguay 3-1 in the first game of group D of the Soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
  • Colombia's Pablo Armero (7) dances with teammates in celebration after scoring during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
  • Uruguay's Maxi Pereira (16) tries to help Costa Rica's Joel Campbell (9) during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pereira was given a red card for the indident.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
  • Uruguay's Edinson Cavani (21) kicks a penalty shot to score his side's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
  • Colombia's Pablo Armero, right, kicks the ball at Greece's goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis to score his side's first goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

England knew surviving a group with two other former World Cup champions would be tough, but the team never expected to be trailing Costa Rica after the opening games.

The small Central American nation with a minor World Cup pedigree came from behind to shock 2010 semifinalist Uruguay, 3-1. Then Mario Balotelli – who else? – scored the decider for Italy in a 2-1 win over England.

If anything, it showed the value of special players at the World Cup. While Italy thrived with Balotelli on the pitch, Uruguay suffered with Luis Suarez sitting on the bench with a bad knee.

Uruguay was powerless for the last hour of the match against an underdog without marquee players, but with no fear of playing against traditional powers.

“What we take into the next games is confidence,” said Costa Rica Coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

For a third straight day, the World Cup in Brazil lived up to its samba billing as goals kept pouring in, with Colombia punishing Greece, 3-0. The other Group C game between Ivory Coast and Japan was played late so it could be broadcast live this morning in Asia.

The leaden Amazon 86-degree heat in Manaus was supposed to stifle play, but Italy and England produced a display of attacking and tactical football.

Wily Andrea Pirlo, at 35, set up the first goal with a deft stepover to give Claudio Marchisio room for a long-range shot. In injury time, when players much younger than him had already come down with cramps, Pirlo sent a swerving free kick that hit the bar.

Balotelli undid the equalizer from Daniel Sturridge with a 50th minute header. Earlier, he almost scored from an extreme angle, getting the ball past goalie Joe Hart only to see Phil Jagielka head it off the line.

“We take our hats off to their skill,” England Coach Roy Hodgson said.

Italy now faces Costa Rica in its next match with another victory likely assuring it progress into the second round.

“We won but now let’s keep our feet on the ground otherwise we’re not going anywhere,” said Balotelli.

After the Netherlands spectacular 5-1 rout of defending champion Spain on Friday, it was another day of football at its best.

Teams from the Americas are 5-1, with victories by Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and Mexico. Uruguay’s loss to Costa Rica is the only defeat for a team from this side of the globe.

Even though Costa Rica had looked strong in qualifying, few expected a victory over Uruguay, especially after Edinson Cavani scored the opening penalty.

Costa Rica then conjured up the spirit of 1990, when it upset Sweden and Scotland to reach the second round in its first World Cup.

Striker Joel Campbell tied the game in the 54th and Oscar Duarte scored on a diving header just three minutes later. Substitute Marcos Urena added the third with six minutes left.

“We spotted that they had weaknesses and we looked at those. We worked hard on headers and ways to dominate in the air and we did that tonight,” Pinto said.

Diego Forlan won the Golden Ball as best player four years ago, but at 35, he was a shadow of his former self and was replaced as Uruguay went looking for a way back into the game. But no one could step up to take over from the injured Suarez.

Compare that to Colombia, which showed off its new generation to the world, when all thought the nation would fizzle after its great star Radamel Falcao had to withdraw from the World Cup with an injured knee.

With Falcao in the stands, Colombians were cheering 22-year-old playmaker James Rodriguez, handily called “El Nuevo Pibe,” or the “New Kid.” Rodriguez led his team and scored Colombia’s third goal, sealing his nation’s first World Cup victory in 16 years.

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