That was to prove the only goal of a fractious and largely ho-hum affair. Kolarov capitalized on the opportunity, curling the free kick past Navas' reach.
It's a daunting enough task playing or managing at the World Cup with eyes from around the globe on you, but Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić would have had extra reason for being nervous.
Here's hoping things start opening up a bit as the group stage progresses.
"Everyone would love to see the national team go far". But a narrow, one-goal win over a Costa Rican team that came into the World Cup in poor form is hardly cause for celebration, and the match highlighted a key weakness in the side. But there were signs that this team wasn't quite as strong as that one: Costa Rica lost a pair of friendly matches heading into the tournament, including a 4-1 loss to Belgium.
Serbia captain Kolarov fired a low shot wide, but Costa Rica should have been in front moments later when Gonzalez sent a free header horribly over the bar after Urena had crossed.
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"The coach chooses the players who best adapt to his style and it is based on three aspects: football quality, union with teammates, and personality within the group", Slavoljub Muslin said about the midfielder's absence.
Thankfully, both of those goals now have company after Serbia's Aleksandar Kolarov rifled in an absolute stunner for his country against Costa Rica.
Towards the end of the match, a tussle between Man United star Nemanja Matic and Costa Rica's coach Luis Marin triggered a huge bust-up between players from both sides. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Aleksandar Mitrovic through the middle.
Costa Rica has only been able to grab two wins in their last 10 encounters and have not having the best time in the previous games.
Now with Italian club Lazio, rumours have swirled that Manchester United might be interested in the dynamic 23-year-old midfielder. The flag was also raised for offside but replays indicated there may have been a case for VAR to overrule had Milinkovic-Savic found the net.