Costa Rica too good for Young Roos
A gallant Australia twice came back from a goal down to equalise against Costa Rica but ultimately lost 3-2 to the Central Americans in its second group match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
A double to Joel Campbell and one to John Ruiz sealed the win for the Costa Ricans, with a Tommy Oar strike and an own goal to Francisco Calvo keeping Australia in the match.
In what was an action-packed opening stanza, three goals were scored in just five minutes.
Costa Rica was on the board first, courtesy of a Campbell goal in the 22nd minute. After losing his footing, the striker recovered with a defensive lapse by Australia allowing him to slot the ball home.
Just as Costa Rica seemed to be gaining in confidence, it was Oar - who scored the crucial equaliser against Ecuador - who brought things level again for the Australians in the 26th minute.
Oar met a Rhyan Grant throw-in with a perfectly-timed run into the box to score his second goal of the tournament.
But the celebrations were short lived by the Young Socceroos. After a quick counter-attack by the Costa Ricans, Campbell struck again only a minute later, his display of beautiful technique volleying the ball into the net to post his brace.
Central Coast Mariners duo Bernie Ibini-Isei and Mustafa Amini were brought on early in the second half and both had an impact immediately.
Amini fired a long-range effort that sailed just over the crossbar but it was Ibini-Isei whose powerful strike deflected off Calvo for the own goal, bringing the Young Socceroos level at 2-2.
But Campbell was on the attack yet again causing all sorts of trouble for the Australian defence, Melbourne Heart's Brendan Hamill doing a superb effort to deny him a third goal.
Moments later however, a precision Campbell corner met a waiting Ruiz in the box who headed home in the 72nd minute for a 3-2 lead to the Costa Ricans.
The loss leaves Australia in third place in the group equal on one point with Ecuador, while Costa Rica jumps to second place behind Spain.
The Young Socceroos face a must-win clash against European powerhouse Spain on Saturday (Sunday AEST) in their final group match.
"I thought we played a very good game but we played naive in certain parts of the game," Young Socceroos coach Jan Versleijen said afterwards.
"And if you make those types of mistakes in this level then you will be penalised for that and that's what we faced today.
"Of course I must have hope (that we can get through to the next stage), but we know know what our target is now. We have to win against Spain."