Substitute Marcos Urena made it three with his first contribution, prompting wild scenes on the Costa Rican bench.
And as Uruguay lost all semblance of self-control, Maxi Pereira was sent off in stoppage time for a wild hack.
Uruguay were missing Luis Suarez who warmed up extensively but did not come off the bench - Suarez will surely start against England next Thursday, a match the South Americans probably need to win to avoid an early exit.
While Suarez was missed, Uruguay need to emerge from a collective malaise after a dismal second-half performance, which confirmed why a side seemingly packed with talented players almost failed to qualify for Brazil.
It should not detract from an ambitious and incisive performance from a team who many imagined would be Group D whipping boys. Instead Jose Luis Pinto's squad stand one more win away from a place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
23' CAVANI PENALTY - Diego Lugano is wrestled to the turf and Edinson Cavani steps up to fire the penalty home, giving him some redemption after he missed an earlier sitter.
54' COSTA RICA DOUBLE WHAMMY - Costa Rica bag two quick goals to turn the game on its head after Uruguay had been getting steadily worse. First Joel Campbell fires home from a loose ball in the area before Oscar Duarte heads home a free-kick a couple of minutes later.
83' COSTA RICA SEAL IT - The substitute Marcos Urena produces a gorgeous finish to round off Campbell's pass and complete Costa Rica's victory. Uruguay were expected to storm back into the game but they simply weren't in it.
90+3' PEREIRA RED CARD - Maxi Pereira lost the plot in the final minutes and hacked out needlessly at Campbell to earn himself a sending off and a suspension. Uruguay will find him hard hard to replace. KEY STATS (via Opta)
Costa Rica scored more than twice in a World Cup game for the first time (this was their 11th match overall).
Uruguay have been responsible for two of the last three red cards at World Cups (Suarez vs Ghana in 2010 & Maxi Pereira today).
Uruguay have conceded three goals in each of their last three games at the World Cup.
TALKING POINT: Was this really so big an upset?
Obviously Uruguay should have beaten Costa Rica, and the Central Americans were magnificent, but is this Uruguay team really that great? Luis Suarez and 2010 appeared to elevate them beyond their abilities in the eyes of most people - they were terrible in qualification and have a very mediocre team outside of their strikers.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)
The Arsenal forward was everywhere in the game, creating and scoring and generally running himself into the ground as his team pursued their historic victory. If he can bring that form to the Premier League then it'll be a no-brainer to get a recall to Arsenal. PLAYER RATINGS Uruguay: Caceres 6, Pereira 5, Godin 6, Lugano 3, Pereira 4, Stuani 5, Arevalo 5, Gargano 5, Rodriguez 5, Cavani 5, Forlan 5. Subs: Lodeiro 6, Gonzalez 6, Hernandez 6. Costa Rica: Navas 8, Diaz 7, Umana 7, Gonzalez 8, Gamboa 8, Duarte 8, Bolanos 6, Borges 7, Tejeda 7, Ruiz 7, Campbell 9
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Costa Rica
- Joel Campbell
- Luis Suarez
- Edinson Cavani
- Maxi Pereira