In a battle of South America versus Southern Europe, as the 4th ranked team in the FIFA rankings Columbia beat the rank 10th best team in the world Greece 3-0 at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
Columbia took the lead after just five minutes when full back and former West Ham player Pablo Armero’s reacted to Juan Cuadrado’s ball across the box and it rolled under Greece’s Kostas Manolas and it slowly beat the Greek goalkeeper. The defender Manolas should have done a lot better clearing the shot that didn’t have that much power on it, and the actions of Manolas meant that the keeper dived a good couple of seconds after the ball had passed him into the goal. What followed could be one of the great World Cup moments as Armero and his teammates on and off the pitch started a perform a choreographed dance to celebrate.
Greece had the majority of the first half’s possession, despite that fact they didn’t really test David Ospina in the Columbian goal, only getting the two shots on target. Their best effort came from Panagiotis Kone who tried to bend the ball past Ospina but the Columbian tipped it anyway for a corner.
Columbia made it 2-0 after a corner was flicked on by Aguilar, went through a sea of Greek defenders and forward Teo Gutiierrez prodded in for a couple yards out to give his nation a two goal cushion
James Rodriguez made it 3-0 in stoppage time for the men in yellow shirts after side footing a cool effort from around ten yards out to cap off a miserable 90 minutes for the Greek nation.
Just after the hour mark, Greece went close to scoring as Theofanis Gekas hit the bar from a header, to the dismay of the Greek fans.
One of the most notable absentees for the this years World Cup is Monaco and Columbia star forward, Radamel Falcao. The 28 year old suffered a cruciate ligament injury in January and was included in head coach Jose Pekerman’s provisional 30 men squad but due to a lack of game time and fitness, Pekerman decided to not select him in the final 23.
On paper, Group C consisting of Greece, Columbia, Ivory Coast and Japan looks incredibly even with all four teams all able to beat each other, but there was a clear gulf in quality between the two sides
Columbia XI; David Ospina, Juan Camilo Zuniga, Cristian Zapata, Mario Yepes, Pablo Armero, Carlos Sanchez, Abel Aguilar, James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, Teofilo Gutierrez, Victor Ibarbo.
Subs; Camilo Vargas, Santiago Arias, Carlos Carbonero, Alexander Meija, Eder Balanta, Carlos Bacca, Adrian Ramos, Juan Quintero, Jackson Martinez, Carlos Valdes, Adrian Ramos.
Greece XI; Orestis Karnezis, Kostas Manolas, Vasillis Torosidis, Sokratis Papasthatopoulos, Jose Holebas, Giannis Maniatis, Kostas Katsouranis, Panagiotis Kone, Dimitris Salpingidis, Theofanis Gekas, Georgios Samaras.
Subs; Panagiotis Glykos, Giorgos Tzavellas, Vangelis Moras, Alexandros Tziolois, Kostas Mitroglou, Giorgos Karagounis, Loukas Vyntra, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Giannis Fetfatzidis, Andreas Samaris, Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Stefanos Kapino