FIFA World Cup: Colombia re-enters World Cup with solid 3-0 win over Greece
Belo Horizonte: Taking a grand return to World Cup after 16 long years, an attacking Colombia recorded its best ever win in the finals as it outclassed Greece 3-0 in a Group C match at Estadio Mineirao, here today.
A sixth minute goal by defender Pablo Armero set the ball rolling for Colombia and then Teofilo Gutierrez scored his first World Cup finals goal in the 58th minute to leave Greece with a daunting task to save the game.
Adding insult to injury, young talent James Rodriguez netted a goal in the stoppage time for a superb finish to the contest, which they dominated for most of the part.
The South American side was missing star striker Radamel Falcao and centre-back Luis Perea from their ranks due to injuries but that did not stop them from playing their brand of game. The Colombians played with good pace and unsettled Greece with an early goal through Armero. It was a risky ploy to push the full backs up but it paid.
Juan Cuadrado set it up for Colombia as he showed great skills to dribble past a Greek defender, fed a low ball in front of the post for Armero, who slammed it in to spark a celebration of a kind.
It was only second international goal for the 27-year Armero for his country.
Conceding an early goal was a worry for Greece, a side which had only 12 goals from 10 games during qualification.
Greece struggled to get an answer to Colombia’s tactics but gradually made it a contest with several raids. They had chance to get equaliser in 28th minute when Dimitrios Salpingidis tackled his marker to send a cross into the area but Panagiotis Kone’s shot went over the bar.
Three minutes later, Georgios Samaras darted towards the area from the left, got himself into a good position to aim at the post, but his strike was collected safely by Colombia keeper David Ospina.
Colombia kept the lead intact, going into the break.
The second half, after a sedate start, produced scintillating stuff from both sides but the day belonged to Colombia as it doubled lead in the 58th minute through centre half Teofilo Gutierrez but Greece failed to grab chances.
James Rodriguez sent the ball into the box, Abel Aguilar flicked it and Gutierrez slotted home the deflection from close range.
Greece did not help its cause by missing the easiest of opportunity to reduce the margin when Vasilis Torosidis volleyed a ball into the area but Theofanis Gekasm’s header bounced off the underside of the crossbar.
The game slowed a bit with Greece almost having given up. In a fantastic finish for Colombia, Juan Cuadrado ran forward into the box after a free-kick. Rodriguez found the ball and slammed a left-footer in to complete the grand win.