SAMARA, Russia, June 17 (Reuters) - A curling free kick from captain Aleksandar Kolarov in the 56th minute secured a 1-0 victory for Serbia over Costa Rica in the opening World Cup Group E match in the Samara Arena on Sunday.
The defender struck the ball over the wall with his left foot and into the top right corner of the net past an outstreched Keylor Navas to break the stalemate after an evenly-matched first half.
Costa Rica, who reached the quarter-finals in 2014, struggled to make chances for an equaliser as Serbia shut down their forays and came close to scoring again several times.
Five-times world champions Brazil take on Switzerland in the second Group E match later on Sunday. (Reporting by Angus MacSwan; editing by Ed Osmond)