World Cup - Colombia ease to win over Greece

World Cup 2014, Group C, Belo Horizonte - Colombia (Armero 5, Gutierrez 58, Rodriguez 90+3), Greece 0

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World Cup - Colombia ease to win over Greece
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Colombia celebrate Pablo Armero's opening goal (Getty Images)

Colombia enhanced their World Cup ‘dark horses’ status with a 3-0 Group C win over Greece in Belo Horizonte.

Roared on by huge travelling support, the much-fancied South Americans took an early lead through a deflected Pablo Armero effort, before Teofilo Gutierrez made the game safe just before the hour mark.

Theofanis Gekas missed Greece’s best chance, crashing a close-range header against the bar, and James Rodriguez completed a decisive victory with a low shot from the edge of the box in stoppage time.

Rodriguez converted after excellent work from Juan Cuadrado on the right - the winger thrived on the counter-attack as Greece committed players forward late on.

Should they qualify, the Colombians will face a team from Group D which features England, Italy and Uruguay. On this form Jose Pekerman's side look like a team to avoid.

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KEY MOMENTS 5' ARMERO GOAL - Pablo Armero collects Juan Cuadrado's excellent ball to fire home with just five minutes on the clock, giving Greece a nightmare start. 45' OSPINA SAVE - David Ospina saves brilliantly from Pantagionis Kone's effort from the edge of the area to keep his side in the lead. 58' GUTIERREZ GOAL - Teofilo Gutierrez gets an important goal as he prods home a flicked-on corner in the six-yard box. 64' GEKAS MISS - Theofanis Gekas has a great chance to get his side back in the game after being picked out by Vasilis Torosidis, but he heads over with the goal gaping.

90+3' RODRIGUEZ GOAL - As Greece pour forward desperately, Rodriguez picks them off with virtually the final kick. The excellent Cuadrado sets it up with incisive play down the right, and Roriguez fires low into the corner from the edge of the box.

TALKING POINT: How badly will Colombia miss Falcao? Falcao may be Colombia's best player, but he also played in their most well-stocked position, up front. Victor Ibrabo was chosen to start ahead of Jackson Martinez alongside Teofilo Gutierrez today, and it had mixed results. The Cagliari forward had very little end product to match his pace and dribbling, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Martinez get a go in the next game. Gutierrez, despite his goal, was also slightly anonymous for much of the game. Anyone who thought they wouldn't miss their man may have been slightly premature.

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KEY STATS The game featured the two oldest outfield players at the World Cup in Mario Yepes (38) and Giorgios Karagounis (37) This was Colombia's best ever result in a World Cup match, with 2-0 their highest previous win.

Greece have lost six of their seven World Cup matches - the 85.7% loss ratio is the second-worst of any nation behind El Salvador.

Juan Cuadrado and the Netherlands' Daley Blind have both recorded two assists in their opening World Cup match.

Colombia scored with half of their six shots in target.

MAN OF THE MATCH Juan Cuadrado (Colombia): Heavily involved in all of Colombia's best attacking play, the Fiorentina man is one of the best wingers in the world right now and further staked his claim with a wonderful performance here.

PLAYER RATINGS

Colombia: Ospina 7, Zuniga 6, Zapata 6, Yepes 8, Armero 7, Aguilar 7, Sanchez 6, Ibarbo 5, Rodriguez 7, Cuadrado 9, Gutierrez 7. Subs: Mejia 6, Arias 6, Martinez 6. Greece: Karnezis 6, Holebas 6, Papastathopoulos 5, Manolas 5, Torosidis 6, Kone 7, Maniatis 5, Samaras 6, Katsouranis 6, Salpingidis 6, Gekas 4. Subs: Fetfatzidis 5, Karagounis 6, Mitroglou 6.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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