Colombia vs. Greece: World Cup Group C Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Colombia vs. Greece: World Cup Group C Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Colombia kicked off their World Cup challenge in fine style with a 3-0 win over Greece in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

The Estadio Mineirao was a see of yellow, with masses of Colombia fans in attendance, and they were rewarded with a polished display from their side.

Pablo Armero set Colombia on their way with a goal on five minutes, and any hopes of a Greek fightback were snuffed out shortly before the hour mark when Teofilo Gutierrez turned the ball home. James Rodriguez put the gloss on the performance with a sweet finish in injury-time.

There was a feeling before the game that Greece would attempt to stifle Colombia and hit them on the counter.

That game plan went out of the window on five minutes as Armero fired Colombia ahead. In truth, it was more scuff than fire, as his shot, following James Rodriguez’s clever step over, lacked pace but was deflected beyond Orestis Karnezis.

B/R

Greece came close to a swift response, but Panagiotis Kone’s shot drifted just wide.

Victor Ibarbo was a towering presence in the middle of the park and demonstrated his physicality on 25 minutes with a surging run that was only halted by an excellent tackle from Konstantinos Manolas.

Vasileios Torosidis had a decent chance when climbing to meet a free-kick, but he didn't make good contact and his effort went wide.

Ibarbo fashioned a chance for Rodriguez with a deep cross, but his volley flew well over the bar.

Colombia keeper David Ospina was a virtual spectator for most of the first half, but he had to be alert to keep out Kone’s drive on the stroke of half-time.

Karnezis had to be sharp at the start of the second half, as a fierce strike from Rodriguez was bound for the bottom corner until the keeper pushed it away.

Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

Colombia were not deterred by missing a series of chances, and they were rewarded with a second on 58 minutes. A corner was flicked on by Abel Aguilar, and Gutierrez was on hand to stab home from a yard out.

Greece have often found scoring goals a problem, but they had no one to blame but themselves against Colombia. Minutes after falling two behind, Theofanis Gekas somehow sent a header from four yards out thudding onto the crossbar when it looked like an easy goal.

With that chance went Greece's hopes of mounting a comeback.

The Colombians were professional throughout. Rodriguez was one of their stars, and he got a goal his display deserved when curling home a low shot from the edge of the box in the dying seconds.

Colombia came into the game with questions to answer on account of the absence of star man Radamel Falcao. Coach Jose Pekerman went with Gutierrez ahead of Jackson Martinez, and he was richly rewarded.

Colombia are now well placed to book their place in the second round, but Pekerman will know that tough tests against Ivory Coast and Japan lie in wait.

 

Grades

Note: Ratings based on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the worst and 10 the best.

Colombia Player Ratings
Player 1st-half rating 2nd-half rating
Ospina 7 7
Zuniga 6 6
Zapata 7 7
Yepes 7 7
Armero 8 7
Aguilar 7 7
Sanchez 6 7
Cuadrado 7 7
James 8 8
Ibarbo 8 8
Gutierrez 7 8
Substitutes
Mejia subbed in at 69' 7
Arias subbed in at 74' 6
Martinez subbed in at 76' 6

B/R

  

Greece Player Ratings
Player 1st-half rating 2nd-half rating
Karnezis 6 6
Holebas 6 6
Sokratis 7 6
Manolas 7 7
Torosidis 6 6
Kone 7 7
Katsouranis 6 6
Maniatis 6 6
Gekas 6 5
Salpingidis 6 6
Samaras 7 6
Substitutes
Fetfatzidis subbed in at 57' 6
Mitroglou subbed in at 64' 6
Karagounis subbed in at 78' 6

B/R

 

Post-match Reaction:

Following the game, Colombia boss Pekerman spoke of both delight and relief in the camp. "This is a fantastic result for the whole of Colombia because there was a lot of emotion among the fans today," Pekerman said. "Nothing’s decided yet, but we went about our task in the right way today."

Pekerman's Greece counterpart Fernando Santos conceded his side were no match for Colombia. "Colombia were the better team," Santos said. "They caused us problems right from start and we weren’t focused enough and didn’t react. At the end of the day, the margin of defeat is still too high though.

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Out of Bounds

World Football

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.