Colombia down Greece

2014-06-14 23:00

Colombia celebrated their first World Cup appearance since 1998 with a deserved 3-0 win over Greece in a free-flowing display that showed their abundance of attacking talent, even without top striker Radamel Falcao.

The South Americans made a blistering start with left back Pablo Amero scoring with a deflected shot in the fifth minute. Striker Teófilo Gutiérrez extended their lead, stabbing home a 58th-minute corner; and midfield James Rodríguez added a late third goal to seal the win.

The Group C opener in Belo Horizonte’s Estadio Mineirao showed Colombia remain a force to be reckoned with despite the injury to Falcao, which overshadowed their build-up to the tournament.

Greece had plenty of chances themselves.

In their best opportunity, veteran striker Fanis Gekas hit the bar with a header when it looked easier to score soon after Colombia’s second goal.

Throughout the game, the Colombians targeted Greek left back José Holebas, repeatedly finding space on the right flank.

The result pumped up an already pulsating atmosphere among the majority Colombian crowd. The yellow-decked South American fans were thrilled at seeing their team back at football’s top table after being shut out since their great sides of 1990s.

That joy was in evidence after Colombia’s first goal, when the players danced together in probably the most joyous celebration so far of the 2014 World Cup.

Defeat continued Greece’s dismal record of never keeping a clean sheet at a World Cup match. They have never gone beyond the group stage either, and will be hoping other Group C rivals Ivory Coast and Japan prove easier opponents.

Meanwhile, in Group D, Costa Rica came from a goal down to beat Uruguay 3-1. The Central American country topped the group before the clash between England and Italy, which kicked off at midnight.

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