FORTALEZA, Brazil — Watching from the bench, Luis Suarez saw just how much his teammates miss him.
Uruguay was overrun, 3-1, Saturday by decided underdog Costa Rica at the World Cup, a stunning result for the team that reached the semifinals four years ago and had every reason to think it could repeat that in Brazil.
Even with Suarez staying on the bench for the entire game after failing to fully recover from knee surgery, coach Oscar Tabarez fielded a side that included eight players from the 2010 team. But after going ahead through a first-half penalty, Uruguay was taken apart on counterattacks as Costa Rica scored three times in the second half to open Group D with a major upset.
‘‘We made mistakes today that we haven’t made for a long time. It’s too early to explain this,’’ Tabarez said. ‘‘Football means that sometimes you have to lose. You can’t lose heart, you just have to improve.’’
The Uruguayans took the lead in the 24th minute when Edinson Cavani converted a spot kick that was awarded after captain Diego Lugano tumbled to the ground with defender Junior Diaz tugging at his waist.
But after the goal, Uruguay lost the initiative and Costa Rica — seen as a massive underdog in a group that also includes England and Italy — fought back after the break.
Costa Rica’s lone striker Joel Campbell led most of the team’s counterattacks and finally delivered the equalizer in the 54th, driving in a ball headed down by Celso Borges to beat goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Oscar Duarte dived past the outstretched foot of Uruguay’s Cristian Stuani to head in the winner, and substitute Marcos Urena added the third with six minutes left, catching out Muslera to slot the ball in from a tight angle.
‘‘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,’’ Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said.
The disastrous night was highlighted in injury time when Maxi Pereira was sent off for a clumsy foul on Campbell. Pereira will be suspended from the next game against England, while Tabarez said Suarez’s participation for next Thursday’s match in Sao Paolo is also uncertain.