Colombia displayed their deadly attacking capabilities with a resounding 3-0 win in Belo Horizonte on Saturday over a Greek side still searching for a second World Cup win in their history.
Pablo Armero opened the scoring after five minutes and Teofilo Gutierrez made it 2-0 with a close-range effort midway through the second half as the influential James Rodriguez ensured the victory in the final minute of injury time.
Greece qualified for the tournament with the most clean sheets of any European side, but their defences were breached just five minutes in thanks to full-back Armero.
Juan Cuadrado’s right wing cross was cleverly dummied by Rodriguez and fired in by Armero, via a deflection from Konstantinos Manolas.
Greece had a golden opportunity to level to scores when Jose Holebas whipped in a cross that hit Vasilios Torosidis’ shoulder and crept wide.
The Greeks were unable to find striker Fanis Gekas but continued to push for an equaliser; Georgios Samaras and Panagotis Kone both going close but failing to test David Ospina.
Rodriguez went close eight minutes from time after Victor Ibarbo’s deep cross found him at the far post, but he could only steer it high over the bar whilst at the other end Kone’s curled effort was superbly saved by Ospina.
Gutierrez, who replaced the injured Radamel Falcao in the Colombia squad, proved his worth after 58 minutes as he doubled his side’s lead with a tap-in after Rodriguez’s weak corner was flicked on by Abel Aguilar.
Just past the hour mark, Torosidis crossed for Gekas who summed up Greece’s fortunes in front of goal as he headed against the crossbar from six yards with the goal gaping.
Five minutes from time, Samaras, who was one of Greece’s only creative influences in the second-half, tried a low shot that just went the wrong side of the post.
In the third minute of injury time, Juan Zuniga took a quick free-kick on the halfway line with Cuadrado found Rodriguez on the edge of the box who hit a low drive past Karnezis to seal the win.
Colombia: David Ospina, Juan Carulo Zuniga, Cristian Zapata, Mario Yepes, Pablo Armero (Santiago Arias 74), Carlos Sanchez, Abel Aguilar (Alexander Mejia 68), James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, Teofilo Gutierrez (Jackson Martinez 76), Victor Ibarbo.
Greece: Orestis Karnezis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Vasilios Torisidis, Jose Holebas, Konstantinos Manolas, Panagiotis Kone (Giorgios Karagounis 78), Kostas Katsouranis, Giannis Maniatis, Dimitris Salpingidis (Ioannis Fetfatzidis 56), Georgios Samaras, Theofanis Gekas (Kostas Mitroglou 64).
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