Colombia was looking to put the finishing touches on a perfect Copa America group run against a Costa Rica side that had already been eliminated, but a funny thing happened at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Costa Rica took advantage of Colombia's wholesale lineup changes–10 in all made by Jose Pekerman–and held off a valiant Colombia rally to win 3-2. As a result, Colombia finishes second in Group A, behind the United States on goal differential after both finished with six points.
Costa Rica scored in the second minute through Johan Venegas, who curled a blast from distance by backup goalkeeper Robinson Zapata.
Frank Fabra answered five minutes later for Colombia, but then gifted Los Ticos the lead going into halftime with an unfortunate own goal, turning Venegas's cross into his own net.
Despite James Rodriguez entering for Colombia at halftime, Costa Rica's Celso Borges made it 3-1 on a first-time volley off Bryan Oviedo's cross in the 58th minute, ramping up the pressure on Los Cafeteros.
Marlos Moreno pulled one back in the 73rd minute to make it interesting, but Costa Rica held on. The USA and Colombia await the results of Group B's finales on Sunday to see who they will play in the quarterfinals.
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Both sides reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, with Colombia bowing out to host Brazil and Costa Rica falling in penalties to the Netherlands.